Incident raises concern over swimming safety during hazardous conditions

Local News
Incident raises concern over swimming safety_30517308-159532

On Sunday, a boy went missing after swimming in Lake Erie in Conneaut, Ohio during hazardous conditions.

That incident has raised concerns about how safe it is to swim at Presque Isle State Park during dangerous weather.

Steve Dunsmore, Lake Erie lifeguard manager at Presque Isle State Park, said guards train every day for all weather conditions.

Dunsmore said Presque Isle had similar conditions on Sunday as Conneaut did, but beaches were put on limited swim.

That put the lifeguards right at the edge of the water during watch.

Dunsmore said every morning the lifeguard manager on duty assesses all beaches and adjusts accordingly based on what the current is doing, which way the wind is coming in and how high the waves might be.

The boy in Conneaut was 16-years-old, which is the minimum age to be a lifeguard at Presque Isle.

Dunsmore said lifeguards go through rigorous physical assessment before orientation and are in the water every day training for any condition.

“We will put them in the rough water, we will put them in the water with the lateral current and practice rescues,” Dunsmore said. “They will swim out and perform their skills so that they are best prepared for the condition that they are going to face that day out on the beaches.”

Officials said the boy in Conneaut presumably drowned at Conneaut Township Park Beach, about 35 miles west of Erie, after swimming with his stepbrother on Sunday and said this is a recovery mission. 

The identity of the boy was not released.

There was a swimming advisory in place at the beach at the time of the incident and the beach was not guarded. 

Swimming is only permitted on guarded beaches at Presque Isle.

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