HOLLAND, MI – The waters of Lake Michigan were found to be unfortunately very deadly this past weekend. Lake Michigan claimed the lives of two young victims. A third teenager was rescued but also nearly drown.
On Saturday June 6th, 2020, at 4:55 p.m., the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Holland State Park in reference to a missing 17-year-old male.
Witness statements provided to Deputies stated 2 brothers, ages 17 and 19, were swimming off the beach and began to struggle in the water. The first subject, a 19 year old man began to swim back to shore and was thrown a lifering by witnesses. With the aid of the life ring he was safely assisted to shore. The second subject, a 17-year-old man, now identified as Christian Ngabo, of Grand Rapids, was last seen struggling in the water 40-50 yards off shore.
While on scene investigating the original incident of the 17-year-old, the Sheriff’s Deputies were advised of a missing 6 year old boy. The 6-year-old boy, Iain Rowe, was reportedly last seen in Lake Michigan in waist deep water.
Lake conditions at the time had waves 4-6 feet in height with a reported rip by witnesses. The incidents were completely unrelated but did occur in the same general area of Holland State Park.
On Sunday June 7th, 2020, at approximately 7:15pm, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team located the body of 6-year-old Iain Rowe, of Ferrysburg, in Lake Michigan along the rocks just north of the Holland channel. His body was taken to Holland Hospital for autopsy. Foul play is not suspected and is being considered an accidental drowning.
The body of Christian Ngabo remained missing until about 9:00 a.m. Monday morning.
Starting at about 7:00 on Monday the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team resumed their search for the body of Christian Ngabo. At approximately 9:00 a.m. on June 8th, 2020, the Dive Team recovered his body in Lake Michigan.
The investigation remains open pending autopsy results for both victims, however foul play in Christians death is also considered accidental.
Units from the Sheriff’s Office were assisted in the search today by the Michigan State Police and the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team is comprised of one sergeant and twelve deputies. The team is responsible for water related incidents within Ottawa County such as drowning, near drowning, evidence and stolen property recoveries.
The divers are trained to dive in poor conditions such as zero visibility, under the ice, in river currents, and night dives. The divers are equipped with dry suits and full-face AGA masks, as well as wireless diver-to-surface communication in order to keep the divers as safe as possible. To further aid in the location of items underwater, the dive team utilizes side scan sonar, an underwater camera, and an underwater metal detector.
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