CUDAHY -- Recovery efforts were underway Tuesday, Aug. 6 for a missing swimmer who disappeared in Lake Michigan Monday night, Aug. 5. The search was happening off Warnimont Park in Cudahy. Crews were called out around 6:30 p.m. Monday, but the search was suspended Monday night due to storms that moved into southeast Wisconsin.
Officials said Tuesday they transitioned from an active search and rescue to a recovery mission. The search resumed at 10 a.m. and continued until 8 p.m. Tuesday.
"We were out here late last night, and had crews in the water -- on the water -- early this morning, scanning the bottom and scanning the beach for any signs," said Dan Mayer, Cudahy fire chief. "Unfortunately, at this point and time, I think it's safe to say it's a recovery effort at this time."
Milwaukee County sheriff's officials said a report came in regarding a man, 19, who was struggling in the water after encountering difficulties while returning to shore. He failed to resurface after going under the water. He was identified Tuesday night as Aaron Polnitz of Brookfield.
Officials with the Cudahy Fire Department said four young adults wandered into a spot not recognized as a public beach in Warnimont Park, and one went underwater in Lake Michigan and did not resurface. One of the individuals made it back to a location where they were able to call 911.
"I kept going down the path, maybe a half-mile, and there was a bunch of different emergency vehicles down that way," said Steve Rowley from Bay View.
"In a few minutes, they brought one person up, and they were already questioning him," said Tim Cornale from Cudahy. "It's probably not going to turn out good."
Cudahy's fire chief said the beauty of Warnimont Park is inviting, but it can also be dangerous, noting this was the second drowning in the park in 2019.
"Stay in designated areas, in designated public areas," said Chief Mayer.
The search has involved multiple departments, including the Coast Guard, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, which is the lead agency, the Milwaukee Fire Department, Milwaukee Police Department and South Milwaukee Fire Department.