Grand Haven Tribune: Bystanders rescue struggling swimmer off Grand Haven south pier
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Bystanders rescue struggling swimmer off Grand Haven south pier

Becky Vargo • Jul 1, 2019 at 9:18 AM

Police say the recent installation of new life rings on Grand Haven’s south pier enabled bystanders to rescue a struggling swimmer from Lake Michigan on Saturday night.

Emergency crews responded to the Grand Haven State Park shortly before 10 p.m. on a call of a person drowning approximately 300 feet from shore.

When officers from the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety arrived, bystanders had pulled the 17-year-old Kent County resident from the water. The teen was taken to shore for treatment by North Ottawa Community Hospital paramedics.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officers and Ottawa County Sheriff marine patrol deputies also responded.

Police said that bystanders saw the swimmer in distress and threw a life ring from the pier to the teen. They pulled the teen to safety on the south pier.

The life ring is one of 17 such devices recently acquired and implemented as part of a joint beach safety initiative dedicated to the elimination of drowning fatalities along Grand Haven beaches.

This coalition, which includes the Grand Haven Rotary Club, the DNR and the City of Grand Haven, recently added three life ring stations along the south pier, as well as 14 location markers and life rings at intervals along the Grand Haven State Park and Grand Haven City beaches.

“The implementation of these markers and devices is designed to allow first responders to more rapidly locate and assist drowning victims and other individuals in need of aid,” officials said.

The life ring used by those involved in the rescue was located at the second station from the pier head.

“Witnesses to the incident credit the presence of the life rings, as well as the quick thinking and action of several bystanders with the successful rescue of the 17-year-old Kent County resident,” police said.

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