Drowning Claims Man at Wahala Beach

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July 19, 2013 — The Lake County Sheriff’s Department says an Illinois man is a drowning victim along Lake Michigan’s southern shore.

Department Sergeant Patti Van Til says Lake County Police requested the Sheriff Department’s help from its Aquatics Underwater Recovery and Rescue Unit at Wahala Beach late Thursday. She says that’s where Aquatics divers recovered the body of 50-year-old Michael Janko of Blue Island, Illinois in 15 feet of water.

Van Til says there had been a report that a man swimming off his boat in the area of Wahala Beach experienced distress while in the water and went under. She says that scuba divers from the Aquatics Unit started a “tow bar” search of the area trying to locate the swimmer in the area where he was last seen, with waves of 1-2 feet.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Department says its Marine Unit, United States Coast Guard helicopter and the Department of Natural Resources also arrived, with DNR able to provide side-scan sonar to assist. Lake County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene as well after several hours of attempts to locate the victim succeeded at approximately 10:12 p.m.

Van Til says, “Through joint efforts of the Aquatics Underwater Recovery and Rescue Unit, Lake County Police Department Marine Unit, U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, and the DNR the victim was located to bring closure for the family of Mr. Janko.”


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