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Thursday, December 25, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 4/17/2014 - Updated: 8 months ago

Coast Guard suspends active search for missing fishermen in Lake Erie

Group of 4 failed to return from trip on Lake Erie

BY MARK REITER AND TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITERS
Amy Santus. Amy Santus.
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OAK HARBOR, Ohio — The Coast Guard has suspended its search for the two remaining people in the water near South Bass Island in Lake Erie tonight pending any new developments.

Paige Widmer Paige Widmer
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Earlier today, authorities have released the names of the two victims whose bodies were recovered in Lake Erie following a boating accident in which four people were reported missing.

Amy Santus, 33, of Perrysburg Township, and Paige Widmer, 16, who lives out of state but her father lives in Perrysburg, were identified as the two victims, Ottawa County authorities said.

Their bodies were located several miles off shore, the first near the Toussaint Reef and the second near the Niagara Reef.

Dr. Dan Cadigan, Ottawa County coroner, said they were wearing life preservers when they found in the water by the search teams. The bodies have been taken to the Lucas County Coroner's Office.

Petty Officer Christoper Yaw, of the U.S. Coast Guard in Cleveland, said crews from the coast guard and other agencies were continuing the search for the two men who also were on the boat. Their names and ages were not being released.

Though not confirmed by the Coast Guard, Andrew Rose, 33, of Maumee, was one of the two missing men who were on the boat, friends told The Blade.

Christopher Titus, a close friend of Mr. Rose, said he learned late Wednesday that he and the others had not returned from the fishing trip.

He said Mr. Rose and Ms. Santus had become friends more than 10 years ago and were very close.

"Amy was one of his best friends. They went way back," he said.

Mr. Rose was a bartender at Home Slice Pizza on South St. Clair Steet in the Toledo Warehouse District and an avid outdoorsman.

"He lived to be outside. If he wasn't on the water he was hunting," Mr. Titus said. "I am sorry to hear what happened to Andrew and the others. My thoughts and prayers are with their families."

 

The boaters were reported missing about 1:30 a.m. today after they failed to return home. The pickup truck and boat trailer belonging to one of them was found parked at Turtle Point Marina.

The 21-foot boat was found by a Coast Guard boat about 6:30 a.m. today near Toussaint Reef, about six miles north of Locust Point, partially submerged and with no people in it, officers said.

Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Settel said a body was pulled from the water about 9:45 a.m. near the area where the partially submerged Tracker Tundra bass boat was found by personnel on a Coast Guard vessel involved in the search.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, the Canadian Coast Guard, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office are assisting in the search by water and air.

More than 200 nautical square miles in the lake had been combed by search and rescue crews by late afternoon, Officer Yaw said.

Joining the search this afternoon was a U.S. Coast Guard HU-25 Guardian. The medium-range surveillance fixed-wing aircraft from Corpus Christi, Texas, was in the area for training, he said.

Also, the Fire and Rescue unit of the Toledo Fire Department responded to assist in the search with a sonar device.

A 25-foot response boat from the Coast Guard's Toledo station and a 45-foot watercraft from the guard's Marblehead location were involved in the search, Officer Yaw sad.

The Canadian Coast Guard is using a C-130 Hercules, which is four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft, in the search for the missing boaters.



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