Bodies of Missing Boys Recovered From Lake Michigan: Officials

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
June 8, 2020USshare
Bodies of Missing Boys Recovered From Lake Michigan: Officials
Large waves caused by high winds crash into the Saint Joseph Lighthouse and pier on Lake Michigan, in Saint Joseph, Mich., on Oct. 16, 2019. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)

Search efforts to find the second boy who went missing in Michigan over the weekend ended with a tragic discovery on Monday after a dive team pulled the body of a 17-year-old out of the water.

The body of Christian Ngabo of Grand Rapids was recovered from Lake Michigan around 9 a.m. on Monday shortly after deputies continued their search, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Eric Westveer said in a statement. The discovery comes one day after deputies recovered the body of 6-year-old Iain Rowe of Ferrysburg late on Sunday, who was last seen in waist-deep water in Lake Michigan on June 6.

Autopsies will be performed to show what exactly caused their deaths. At this time, no foul play is suspected, the sheriff’s office said.

“Our condolences to his loved ones,” a sheriff’s office official said.

The teen went missing while swimming with his older brother on June 6, local outlet WHTC reported. Witnesses spotted rip currents in the lake that day and the two were swimming in conditions with four to six feet of waves.

Rip currents are hazardous to swimmers and make up about 80 percent of beach rescues and kill about 100 people in the United States annually. They are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that can reach moving speeds of up to eight feet per second, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NTD Photo
A sign announces “Danger Rip Current” in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Oct. 28, 2012. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Whenever there are waves of sufficient energy, rip currents—simply called “rips”—can form. In the United States, they are widespread along the East, Gulf, and West coasts, as well as along the shores of the Great Lakes.

Both teens began to struggle in the water and Ngabo’s 19-year-old brother managed to get to shore safely. According to The Detroit Free-Press, the older brother was saved by bystanders after they threw a life ring.

Ngabo was last seen by witnesses swimming approximately 40 to 50 yards from shore, Westveer said.

Ngabo and Rowe went missing the same day, in apparent unrelated instances.

Rowe’s body was found one day later at about 7:15 p.m. by the sheriff’s county dive team along the rocks just north of the Holland channel.

NTD Photo
Iain Rowe, 6, from Ferrysburg in a file photo. Rowe was reported missing in the waters of Lake Michigan near Holland State Park on June 6, 2020. (Courtesy of Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department)

Following the incident, Michigan State Park officials closed the park for diving teams. The park was reopened to the public Sunday afternoon.

Authorities said the two incidents are not related, but an investigation remains open. Anyone with information is asked to contact OCSO at 1-800-249-0911.

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