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Water safety group finds fewer Lake Michigan drownings this summer

Photo courtesy South Haven Area Emergency Services

CHICAGO (AP) — A water safety nonprofit group has found that the number of drownings decreased this swim season on Lake Michigan compared with last year.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says 33 people were confirmed to have drowned in Lake Michigan so far this year compared with 36 drownings during the same period last year.

The group’s executive director, David Benjamin, says there was a peak in the spring and early summer but the number tapered off. He says the lack of prolonged heat waves held down the number of drownings because there were fewer people in the water.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that since 2010 about 600 people have been confirmed as drowning in the Great Lakes, including 69 so far in 2017. There were 99 in 2016 and 55 in 2015.

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