OAKFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (June 6, 2014) — A man from Grand Rapids is dead after drowning in a lake in northern Kent County. The man was with his wife in a small row boat when he moved from where he was sitting, causing the boat to tip over.
It happened at about 11 o’clock this morning on Chain Lake, near Morgan Lake in Oakfield Township.
Emergency crews tried to revive the man, but those attempts were unsuccessful.
Neighbors who live on the lake said that they watched in horror as the entire situation unfolded.
The man’s wife was able to swim to safety.
Larson’s Resort said the Grand Rapids couple rented that boat and that life jackets were on board, but witnesses said that neither person in the boat were actually wearing them.
Thomas Alcala said that his son went out to fish on the lake this morning, but noticed a couple in a small row boat in his usual spot.
“He said basically that I think there’s something going on and I come out here and look and seen the boat sitting over here and life jackets were kind of scattered through the water and stuff. I told my boy, I said let’s go see what’s going on,” said Alcala.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department said that the 53-year-old man from Grand rapids and his wife were both tossed into the water after movement on the boat caused it to capsize.
Investigators said that the man’s wife was able to grab a flotation device and get help on shore, but he never surfaced.
Alcala said that it doesn’t appear that the couple was very familiar with the lake’s 50 foot drop off on the edge of the canal.
“I thought to myself, all he had to do was swim probably ten feet. Ten feet and he would have been safe,” said Alcala.
Alcala has children who play near the water daily, and said that Saturday’s tragedy serves as a reminder of the dangers out on the water.
“I’m one of those kind of people that let my kids in this boat with no life jackets,” said Alcala.
Alcala said that he watched on as emergency crews tried to revive the man, and wishes there was more he could have done to help.
“I feel sorry for the family. I wish I would have been out here at the time like my son said, he would have dove into the water after him and I know my son, he’s got a big heart,” said Alcala.
Investigators have not released the name of the victim.