Man dies after falling from freighter in Lake Huron

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

(SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.) — The Coast Guard recovered a 55-year-old Polish man from Lake Huron late Sunday morning after the crew of the motor vessel Lubie, a 622-foot Bahamian-flagged bulk carrier, reported him missing.

The man's name is not being released.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., a search and rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie received a telephone call from someone aboard the motor vessel Lubie, reporting a crewmember was missing and may have fallen overboard. At the time of notification the Lubie was underway roughly 10 miles northeast of Rogers City, Mich., traveling from Marinette, Wis., to Windsor, Ontario. 

The crew last saw the man about one hour before notifying Sector Sault Ste. Marie.

He was last seen before going to work on deck wearing blue coveralls or a blue jumpsuit. 

Watchstanders at Sector Sault Ste. Marie immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched a crew aboard a 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, Mich., and a crew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich. The crew of the freighter also reversed course and began searching their previous track line. More than two hours later, the Lubie crew reported spotting the man face down in the water.

The Coast Guard response boat crew recovered the man, who was unconscious and unresponsive, and transferred him to awaiting EMTs at Station St. Ignace.

He was declared deceased by local medical authorities. A local medical examiner is performing an autopsy.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to prepare for the effects cold water immersion has on the human body by wearing proper cold water safety gear, such as anti-exposure coveralls or drysuits. Cold-water studies have shown a person entering cold water has one minute to gain control of their breathing, 10 minutes of meaningful movement to perpetuate self-rescue and one hour before suffering from hypothermia and losing consciousness.

The water temperature was approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the accident.

By Professional Mariner Staff