Coast Guard suspends search for overboard freighter crewman in Lake Michigan

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(MILWAUKEE) (Aug. 23) — The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a man who reportedly jumped overboard from a freighter near Big Sable Point in Lake Michigan early Sunday morning.

The man's name is not being released and there is no Coast Guard imagery or video available for this case.

Just before 2 a.m., watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan received a report, via Rescue 21 on VHF-FM Channel 16, from the motor vessel Stewart J. Cort, a 989-foot, U.S.-flagged freighter owned by the Interlake Steamship Company, that they had a man overboard approximately three to four miles offshore of Big Sable Point. Crewmembers witnessed the man climb over the rail and jump from the vessel. The crewmembers immediately deployed three life rings and notified the navigation bridge. The vessel turned and began a systematic search for the man. Due to conditions at the time and the impending weather forecast, the decision was made not to deploy the vessel’s small workboat. The motor vessels Samuel D. Champlain, Joyce L. Van Encevort and Vikingbank were also in the area also began to assist with the search.

Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan launched a crew from Coast Guard Station Manistee, Mich., aboard a 45-foot response boat and crews from Air Facility Muskegon, Mich., and Air Station Traverse City, Mich., aboard Dolphin helicopters. The Coast Guard completed 11 searches covering 76 square nautical miles. Additionally, multiple commercial vessels in the area participated in the search efforts.

Forecasted weather for the search area include a small-craft advisory in effect from 8 a.m. EDT this Sunday through Monday evening with 20- to 25-knot winds veering west to 30 knots. Showers and thunderstorms are likely until midday and waves range from 3 to 5 feet.

By Professional Mariner Staff