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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Caught just a few seconds of a radio news broadcast...fisherman that left of out of Monroe yesterday did not return...and they do not answer their cell phones...Coast guard was searching by air...anyone else hear if they have been found yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just heard they were found...boat capsized...all alive...no details yet...all flown to hospitable
 

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There's some audio I'll put up later.

Matt

Source

4 missing Lake Erie fishermen found alive

BY TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA, ZLATI MEYER AND ROBIN ERB FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

Update at 6:35

Four fisherman missing in the Lake Erie have been found alive near their capsized boat off Middle Sister Island in Lake Erie.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Brandon Blackwell said Monroe County Sheriff's deputies found the men about 5:45 p.m.

Authorities identified the four as Douglas Whittaker, 76, of Eaton Rapids; Roy Letson, 52, of Charlotte; Vert, 64, of Lansing, and Ronnie Miller, 63, of Eaton Rapids. They left Sterling State Park in Monroe around 8 a.m. Thursday in a 19-foot Sylvan fishing boat, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Dave Beck said this morning.

David Zachman, whose stepfather, 64-year-old Larry Vert, was among the missing, said the U.S. Coast Guard called his mother about 6 p.m. to let her know the men were found alive.

The four Michigan men were last seen after leaving to fish for walleye about 8 a.m. Thursday.

The group, he said, made two critical decisions: They let loved ones know where they were going and when they'd return, and they stayed with their capsized vessel.

"It gives us something larger to look for," he said, referring to search crews. He said the men showed signs of hypothermia, but no other serious injuries. They are being taken to shore and will be examined.

It was still unclear, Blackwell said, why the boat capsized.

As of 3:30 p.m.

Search and rescue crews have been crisscrossing Lake Erie off Monroe by boat and plane since Thursday night in search of the fishermen.

Whittaker's daughter contacted the Coast Guard at roughly 10 p.m. Thursday when they hadn't heard from the men.

A plane, a helicopter and rescue boats from Monroe, Detroit, Canada and Toledo and Marblehead, Ohio, participated in the search, Coast Guard officials said.

Erma Whittaker, Douglas Whittaker's wife, said the men are avid fisherman; this trip, they were out for walleye.

"They were supposed to be back for dinner last night," she said.

Sharon Letson said this was husband Roy Letson's first fishing trip.

Vert, though, is an experienced angler, who enjoys fishing year-round.

"Every week, he goes fishing two days," his wife, Royalyn Vert, said. "He's a person who retired to go fishing."

Vert, a retired Lansing accountant, left with the three men about 8 a.m. Thursday. He and Whittaker, who owns the boat, know each other through church, said Zachman, 42, of Madison Heights.

Zachman and his wife, Bonnie, 40, arrived at the park about lunchtime with a picture of Vert, hoping other park visitors or boaters may recognize him and offer a lead to where the men were last seen.

"He loves fishing," Bonnie Zachman said. In fact, he was scheduled to take another fishing trip today with another friend, she said.

Royalyn Vert said she had become worried when her husband and the others didn't show up Thursday evening.

Rangers were alerted and found the men's boat trailer and vehicle at the boat launch, she said.

With the sun shining and a hum from rustling leaves and the water around them, Bonnie Zachman said she still had great hope.

"It'd be great if they walked up right here, while we're standing here," she said, standing near the dock where the men most likely had launched.

A C130 Hercules four-propeller search plane, an HH65 Dolphin helicopter, two 25-foot small response boats, a 41-foot utility boat, a 47-foot motor lifeboat and a 33-foot special purpose craft were used by the rescue crews.

"We don't know if they're out of range or battery life or what," Beck said. "Our hope is that they're tucked away somewhere and they're fine, we just haven't been able to find them."

According to Petty Officer Natasha Brooks, watch stander at Air Station Detroit, the first helicopter crew hunted for the men for an estimated eight hours Thursday night and had to refuel twice. They have since been relieved by a second team of searchers.

Beck said boaters should carry a marine radio for emergencies, and wear life jackets while boating. He said the men told people when they expected to return, but not where they expected to fish. "We know where they normally fish, but we don't know where they were intending to fish," he said.

It was unclear what may have happened, but boaters occasionally have mechanical problems and weather issues, and pull onto an island to wait for help, said park ranger Alan Wolfe.

"We hope for the best," he said. "We always do."

Waves yesterday, he said, were reported at 1 to 3 feet high in areas.

In fact, even as the holiday weekend began today, boaters were pulling into dock by 11 a.m. - having set out just after dawn on calm waters, but running into wind and waves a few hours later.

"It was flat as glass when we came out," said Lee Lubinski, a customer service representative from Garden City.

He'd launched about 7 a.m. from Sterling Park with his son, 29-year-old Todd Lubinski, a draftsman from Canton.

"The Great Lakes have their own weather system," Lee Lubinski said.

The pair, who had been fishing for walleye, pulled in their 15-foot ski boat while - behind them in the water - other boaters were heading for the docks.

"It's choppy," the elder Lubinski called to several boaters who had pulled into the parking lot, prompting them to leave.

The park is about 1,400 acres, and Wolfe said the boaters had filed a "float plan" with loved ones, letting them know where they were going on the 19-foot boat and when they'd return.

Their burgundy Chevy Suburban and boat trailer still sat in the parking lot this morning with a note from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office on it, asking them to contact authorities.
 

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QUOTE(freckles @ Jul 3 2009, 01:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>QUOTE(Big Dog @ Jul 3 2009, 09:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Fox national news just reported it a few minutes ago. The men range in age from 50 to 70, were fishing from a 19ft sailboat, search is still underway.

More info here:

http://www.lakestclair.net/forums/index.ph...c=69672&hl=

the Freep said a 19' Sylvan, which I don't think is a sailboat, is it?

I've never heard of Sylvan making a sailboat. It seemed odd to hear of 4 guys fishing out of a sailboat on Fox, but stranger things do happen.
Good to hear all are rescued and safe.
 

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Audio is up. There's not much because the search was on the fringe of the scanner range. You can hear when they call off the search because the 4 men were found.

Matt
 

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QUOTE(Big Dog @ Jul 3 2009, 09:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>QUOTE(freckles @ Jul 3 2009, 01:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>QUOTE(Big Dog @ Jul 3 2009, 09:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Fox national news just reported it a few minutes ago. The men range in age from 50 to 70, were fishing from a 19ft sailboat, search is still underway.

More info here:

http://www.lakestclair.net/forums/index.ph...c=69672&hl=

the Freep said a 19' Sylvan, which I don't think is a sailboat, is it?

I've never heard of Sylvan making a sailboat. It seemed odd to hear of 4 guys fishing out of a sailboat on Fox, but stranger things do happen.
Good to hear all are rescued and safe.



Yeah especially since Fox always has accurate information and facts.

Sorry
Matt
 

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From Detnews story... must have been a hell of a catch


Investigators said a heavy catch of walleye and waves shooting over the bow caused the boat to slowly roll over around 4 p.m. Thursday. The men, all in lifejackets, slept on top of the vessel, said Petty Officer Brandon Blackwell of the U.S. Coast Guard 9th District.
 

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Here is another story from the Coast Guard. Filing a Float Plan and staying with the boat was crucial.

http://www.floatplancentral.org/

Source great source for maritime news.

USA. Coast Guard reports four missing boaters found alive

Saturday, 04 July 2009

Four overdue boaters, missing since yesterday, were found alive near Middle Sister Island at approximately 5:45 p.m. Friday.

Monroe Country Sheriffs located a capsized vessel and four people in the water. They were later identified as Douglas Whittaker, Roy Letson, Larry Vert and Ron Miller, the four missing fishermen. U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard, and Monroe, Lucas and Ottawa County Sheriffs search-and-rescue assets had been looking for the fishermen since approximately 10 p.m. Thursday.

The men showed signs of hypothermia and were transported by the Monroe County Sheriffs to Bolles Harbor, Mich., where local emergency medical services were standing by.

This successful rescue effort demonstrates the vital cooperation of local, state, federal and Canadian agencies working together to keep boaters safe on the Great Lakes.

The search area covered the entire western basin of Lake Erie.

The four overdue boaters had filed a float plan, leaving information with family indicating when they were departing, where they were going and when they were expecting to be back in port.

"These boaters had done the right thing by filing a float plan," said Lt. Wade Hedinger, Coast Guard Sector Detroit. "The men also stayed with their vessel, which aided in locating them."

The Coast Guard would like to remind all boaters that filing a float plan is a crucial element of boating safety.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 04 July 2009 )
 

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QUOTE(Dos mangos @ Jul 3 2009, 09:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>and there was a thread that asked , is a 19 foot boat ok on lake erie ? theres your answer
Come on Dos, That could have happened on just about any lake. The guys on that boat decided to do something that was beyond stupid by keeping a heavy load of walleye on board which caused the boat to take on water and capsize and you figure thats the answer to a question about taking a 19ftr out on Lake Erie.. They were lucky to have survived after doing something so stupid. It kind of like sitting there and saying "Hey, we're takeing on water but what the heck we have alot of fish to fry when we get home" It's also like Dumb and Dumber out for a day of fishing with their pals Stupid and Stupider. At least they were smart enough to file a float plan.
 

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very compelling story...
I dont think they sounded stupid tho...they had a plan...and they kept each other hanging on.

Plus...how many fish could they have had in their hold ???

Odd detail.
 

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QUOTE(LakeNewbie @ Jul 6 2009, 11:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>very compelling story...
I dont think they sounded stupid tho...they had a plan...and they kept each other hanging on.

Plus...how many fish could they have had in their hold ???

Odd detail.
If I'm not mistaken they had coolers full of them but thats just what I heard and i'm not sure how true it is.. But If that was the case and you started taking on water and you didn't want to dump the fish, why not put the coolers overboard and tie them off and remove some of the weight from the boat.. The coolers would float on there own. I'm pretty sure if I were on that boat the fish would have gone overboard before I would have. LOL
 

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QUOTE(ColPepper @ Jul 6 2009, 11:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>QUOTE(LakeNewbie @ Jul 6 2009, 11:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>very compelling story...
I dont think they sounded stupid tho...they had a plan...and they kept each other hanging on.

Plus...how many fish could they have had in their hold ???

Odd detail.
If I'm not mistaken they had coolers full of them but thats just what I heard and i'm not sure how true it is.. But If that was the case and you started taking on water and you didn't want to dump the fish, why not put the coolers overboard and tie them off and remove some of the weight from the boat.. The coolers would float on there own. I'm pretty sure if I were on that boat the fish would have gone overboard before I would have. LOL


From experience I will tell you that there is no way a cooler full of walleye on erie contributed to capsizing that boat. Even with 20 10lbrs which would be totally unheard of, that would only be about 200 lbs or just like another guy in the boat. I have brought back 24 fish in a day from OH waters and I will tell you that most fish only avg about 2-3 pounds, you do the math.......
 

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Start taking on water in a 19 footer, and the fish don't matter. You're going down. This is, of course, assuming that they took 1 or 2 over the side, and didn't spring a leak or something. Personally i'd be a hell of a lot more concerned about trying to get hte water out of hte boat than getting the fish out of the boat.
 

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Source

Rescued fisherman recounts 24 hours adrift on Lake Erie

By Tammy Stables Battaglia Free Press staff writer

After nearly 24 hours bobbing atop their capsized fishing boat, the four fishermen hatched a plan to save themselves.

Roy Letson was going to swim for Middle Sister Island, a little sliver of land in the distance, growing slowly closer with winds from the west. Their Lake Erie oasis sat nearly 18 miles from where they launched at Sterling State Park.

"We were thinking if we got close enough, I could slip off the boat and swim toward the island and radio for help," Letson, 52, of Charlotte, the youngest of the four men, said from his bed at Monroe Mercy Hospital this morning. "I was hoping I could make it I guess. We had to do something because one of the guys was thinking if we had to spend another night, he wasn't going to make it."

Letson, on his first venture onto Lake Erie for walleye, had left Sterling State Park in Monroe at 8 a.m. Thursday with his father-in-law, Douglas Whittaker, 76, of Eaton Rapids, and Whittaker's friends, Larry Vert, 64, a retired Lansing accountant, and Ronnie Miller, 63, also of Eaton Rapids. All four are in Mercy Hospital in Monroe today in stable condition, hooked up to IVs to replenish fluids lost during their Lake Erie odyssey.

They'd hauled in their limit of fish, 20 fat walleye stored in coolers as they headed back to port Thursday evening.

And that's what they think was their downfall.

"Maybe we had too much weight on the front of the boat, we had our fish up there," Letson said. "We were all done, coming in. It was real fun, we were having a good time."

The first wave hit, drenching the front of the boat. Then the second. And the third. The boat capsized -- and took their radios and safety equipment underwater. Letson, pulled out his cell phone and held it in the air as the waves hit, trying to keep it dry. But it was either save the phone, or save himself.

He pulled himself onto the hull, what became the men's floating island through Thursday night's darkness.

"We were just mainly concentrating on staying afloat," said Letson, who perched on the end near the motor. "We weren't worried about sinking, but just hanging on. If you weren't ready, you'd get knocked off."

Three times, the waves swept Letson away.

"The first time I was able to turn around and grab the boat," he said. "The second time, one of the guys grabbed my life jacket and pulled me back. The third time my father-in-law grabbed my foot."

Letson said the men did a lot of thinking -- and praying -- sitting in the darkness.

"This was my first time being out on the lake fishing with these guys; I didn't say very much," he said. "I was just watching for waves, trying to stay awake, try not to think about being hungry. But there was a lot of stuff going through my mind, praying, just thinking about little random things.

"We were examining ourselves, doing our own soul searching and getting ourselves right with God," he said. "We're all Christians, but there are things in our life we have to get right too.

"I wasn't scared," he said. "I was just ok. God's in control."

Back on shore, Letson's wife, Sharon, and her step-mother, Whittaker's wife, stayed in the Lansing area, knowing there was nothing they could do until they got word from the Coast Guard -- good or bad.

"The thought kept crossing my mind, 'This is so unreal, this is so ridiculous, this is not what I should be doing at this time -- waiting for news,'" Sharon Letson said this morning. "The more time that passed during the day (Friday), it's like, 'Why can they not find them?'"

But the men's families kept hoping for the best.

"These guys grew up on farms; they're very resourceful," Sharon said. "If something happens, 'Ok, now what do we need to do to fix it?' They don't just give up and let the circumstances dictate what they do."

As daylight broke, the men focused their eyes to the sky, flailing their arms when they saw searchers flying overhead in the distance, disappointed each time one turned away.

By Friday evening, one of the men's heart condition and lack of medication began to affect him.

"It was getting down to 'You've gotta do something to help,'" Letson said. "It got to the point where he couldn't move his legs. We'd grab onto his pants and kind of shook them."

With Middle Sister Island off in the distance, Letson prepared to dive into the water when they drifted close enough.

"All of a sudden the wind shifted toward to the northwest, and we started drifting away," Letson said. "But I think it was about a half-hour later when the Monroe County helicopter flew over and spotted us.

"Oh man, that was just&#8230;," Letson said, unable to find the words. "Well, leading up to that point, there was a lot of other aircraft, some flew directly over us and kept going. So when we heard that and all of sudden he started circling us, we breathed a sigh of relief: 'Oh we made it, we did it.'"

Sharon Letson said she stayed calm because she kept receiving updates from searchers -- and from those who put the men's names on prayer lists and prayer chains.

"We really want to say how thankful we are to the Coast Guard and all the organizations that searched," she said. "And all those people who prayed for them, we're so thankful for them."

Emotions were high Friday night when she first saw her husband, the father of three girls and step-father to her three children, in an emergency room hospital bed in Monroe.

Letson and Whitaker could be released from the hospital later today.

"I'm thinking that whole time, 'Maybe that's the last time I'm going to say anything to him,'" Sharon Letson said. "So after all that time, seeing that person again, it's very emotional -- a lot of hugs, a lot of tears. All that tension is all building up: 'I want to see my family, I want to see my girls again. He did say that he really wanted to see me and he really wanted to see the girls. I think you think about that the whole time."
 

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Wow! Glad they made it!

There is a lot more to the size of a boat than simply length. I bet their next boat will be self-bailing, and have a lot more freeboard.
 
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