Lost boaters found after air and water search

Becky Vargo • Oct 1, 2017 at 10:02 AM

A 34-year-old Battle Creek woman and her 7-month-old baby were located safe and unharmed after an air and water search along the Grand River early Sunday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the scene after Anthony Hough, 43, of Battle Creek, reported his wife, Matthia Alves-Beronja, and their 7-month-old child missing, said Ottawa County Sheriff Sgt. Jay Douglas.

The family was boating on the Grand River Saturday afternoon, when they ran out of gas, somewhere between 24th and 68th Avenues, Douglas said. Hough pulled up to shore around 4:30 p.m., anchored the boat and went to a nearby home where the residents helped him get some gas. When Hough returned to the river, the boat containing his wife and child was gone.

Douglas said the man walked miles along the river, searching for his family, and finally went to a residence and called 911 shortly after midnight.

A ground, water and air search with the Aero Med helicopter was initiated, Douglas said.

Georgetown Township firefighters using a boat found the missing boaters on an island near 68th Avenue.

The boat had drifted downriver despite being anchored, Douglas said.

The family members were checked and refused medical treatment, the sergeant said.

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