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Soma56 Senior Fisherman
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July 3, 2009


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.
 

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Defensor Fortis
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That's awesome news!
 

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Good think that didn't happen off Ottawa County... Fishing would be banned on Lake Erie... right sheriff??? :D

Just kidding. I'm glad the fishermen were found alive.
 

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Defensor Fortis
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Good think that didn't happen off Ottawa County... Fishing would be banned on Lake Erie... right sheriff??? :D
Interesting thought! I wonder what he would have said? :confused:
 

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Outstanding! I thought for sure they were goners... Smart guys, leaving a plan and staying with the boat. Pretty great for some older dudes!
 

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Good think that didn't happen off Ottawa County... Fishing would be banned on Lake Erie... right sheriff??? :D

Just kidding. I'm glad the fishermen were found alive.
yea what ifs!!! great news that these ole dudes had their **** together and did whatever was necessary to prevail!!! kudos to them!! great outcome to0 what most of us thought would be another dismal story!
 

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That's great news... we all have to remember out on the big pond were all in the same boat.
 
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Good think that didn't happen off Ottawa County... Fishing would be banned on Lake Erie... right sheriff??? :D

Just kidding. I'm glad the fishermen were found alive.
Lol ya had to bring it up didn't ya :D

But thinking about it, if they didn't send in the hole crew to find these guys, I'm sure they would have gotten in on their own :rolleyes:
 

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aka iridealot9
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thank god the guys are ok, but the thing which knowone has brought up yet is you have to respect lake erie for how nasty it really is. these guys went out in 5-7s in a 19 aluminun boat. not a good idea. thank god we have guys in the coast guard and the odnr who are willing to go out and and risk thier lives in any weather. we have to be smart on our great lake
 

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Im glad their safe!!
I heard on the news this morning they had around 20 eyes in the cooler and made it sound like thats why they turned over.
I thought to my Those must have been some big eyes.:D

Glad everything worked out for them.
 
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