HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A 16-year-old girl visiting Lake Michigan for the first time was missing and presumed drowned after apparently being swept into the water by a large wave, authorities said.
Eliza Trainer, of Flint, and an 18-year-old friend were knocked into the lake off Holland State Park about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Ottawa County sheriff’s office. High waves hampered search efforts on Thursday.
Trainer’s friend was able to get out of the water and he summoned help. Waves at the time were estimated at about 12 feet (3.7 meters) high, the sheriff’s office said. Sgt. Jay Douglas said the pair were at the pier “to see Lake Michigan.”
“They hadn’t seen Lake Michigan before,” Douglas told reporters, adding caution about the lake when the weather is bad. “Lake Michigan isn’t a joke. It’s dangerous. These conditions are not conducive to being out on the pier.”
Crews from the sheriff’s office, the Park Township and Holland fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard were among those involved in the search that started Wednesday night.
“At present, the conditions are too severe to do a search from the water,” the sheriff’s office said early Thursday afternoon in a release. “However, the conditions are constantly monitored and when conditions do allow a search will be made from the water.”
Aerial searches in what’s described now as a recovery effort were being conducted Thursday. Drones also may be used.
The 18-year-old was taken to a hospital and later released.