Search suspended for swimmer missing at Harrington Beach State Park

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OZAUKEE COUNTY -- A search for a missing swimmer off the shores of Harrington Beach State Park in Ozaukee County was suspended Monday night, Aug. 20. The search will resume Tuesday morning, weather permitting.

The search was suspended as of 7:45 p.m. "due to low visibility and hazardous weather/water conditions," according to the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office. They said the weather conditions will be re-evaluated Tuesday morning and search efforts will resume.

James Johnson, Ozaukee County sheriff

"There's always hope, so we will maintain that hope and continue searching. We will continue the search until it's determined that our efforts would be futile," said James Johnson, Ozaukee County sheriff.

The U.S. Coast Guard was assisting with the search, which began after a 911 call came in from a citizen at the park shortly after 1 p.m. Monday. It was reported that five people, all from the Milwaukee area, entered Lake Michigan to swim. Four managed to get out of the lake -- three with no injuries and one with life-threatening injuries. The injured person, a female in her 30s, was taken to a hospital.

One person remains missing. He was described as a male, white, in his 30s, wearing blue and orange swim trunks.

Coast Guard at Harrington Beach State Park

Search efforts Monday involved multiple agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Ozaukee County rescue boat, Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office rescue boat, Flight For Life, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, DNR, Cedarburg/Mequon/Port dive teams, and Belgium/Fredonia/Cedar Grove EMS.

If anyone has information regarding the missing subject’s whereabouts, you are urged to contact the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office at 262-284-7172.

Harrington Beach State Park

Darrell Strickland

The National Weather Service issued a Beach Hazard Statement along Lake Michigan's shoreline to be in effect through Tuesday evening -- because of strong rip currents and high waves. Over the weekend, three children drowned in Lake Michigan, in Illinois and Indiana. Officials said strong rip currents were creating waves up to seven feet high.

"We're looking at winds (Monday night) 20-25 knots and that starts creating more hazardous seas. You should stay out of the water and not be swimming," said Darrell Strickland, U.S. Coast Guard.

As water conditions are always changing, it's recommended that you don't panic if you're swept up by its strength.

"Try to remain calm. Hold your breath and try to go parallel with the shoreline. The more you fight it, the more vulnerable you become to drowning," said Strickland.

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