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Canoe capsizes in Ionia County pond, man drowns

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RONALD TOWNSHIP, Mich. —  The Michigan State Police Lakeview Post says a 42-year-old man drowned Saturday afternoon in Ionia County, after a canoe capsized.

Ionia County Central Dispatch tells FOX 17 rescue crews were dispatched at 1:08 p.m.

State Police say the canoe flipped over in a pond along North Stage Road, sending the man and “multiple” children into the water. Only the children were wearing life jackets, according to investigators, who say the man slipped under the water and did not resurface. The children were able to be rescued.

State Police have identified the man who drowned as Earl Phillip Sensenig, and say in a news release he was wearing work clothes and heavy boots when the canoe capsized. His hometown was not provided.

They also say Sensenig was found submerged in the pond after a nearly two-hour search, which was hampered by poor visibility in the muddy/swampy pond, and the deep depth, according to State Police.

They say he was taken to Sparrow Hospital in Ionia by Life EMS. Other agencies that responded to the scene were Ionia County Sheriff’s deputies and their dive-team members, members of the Ionia Department of Public Safety and its dive-team, as well as crews from the Ronald Township, Belding and Lyons/Muir fire departments, plus Ionia County Victims’ Advocates.

The latter group is assisting the family, which was on-scene at the time.

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