Neighbor Dianna Sahr was relaxing on the deck of her new home three doors away when she heard a hysterical woman’s cries for help.
“I saw her dragging him out of the water,” Sahr said.
Sahr ran over and helped the woman get her husband onshore, yelling for anyone to call 911 as she raced barefoot down the beach.
Then she checked the man for a pulse.
“There was none,” Sahr said.
She performed CPR for five to 10 minutes until emergency personnel took over.
“My hands are numb,” she said while rubbing her fingers.
Emergency crews arrived at the 19000 block of 136th Avenue at about 3:15 p.m. on the possible drowning.
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Pease said the man had been working on the beach area behind his home, raking up weeds, when he possibly suffered a medical condition and fell into the water.
“His wife had not seen or heard from him in a while, so she went looking for him,” Pease said.
It was not known how long the man had been in the water, the lieutenant said. Authorities did not name him as family notification continued.
Next-door neighbor Barb Skogler said she didn’t hear anything until emergency personnel arrived on the scene.
“They said he might have suffered a medical problem,” Skogler said. “When you see somebody that’s kind of wirey, you don’t expect them to have a health problem.”
Skogler said that her neighbor worked hard on the house and in the yard.
“He was a very, very active, hard-working man,” she said. “They’ve been fixing up the house. They’ve done an outstanding job. …I believe they were planning to retire here.”
Skogler said her neighbors purchased the home about three years ago and split their time between the Robinson Township home and a home in Illinois. They were cleaning up the property for a holiday gathering with their grandchildren.
“They’re wonderful neighbors,” Skogler added. “I will be praying for them tonight.”