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Published: Thursday, 8/5/2004

Orrville man dies after fall into Lake Erie on fishing trip

SANDUSKY - An Orrville, Ohio, man returning to shore with three fishing companions fell off a small fishing craft yesterday into Sandusky Bay and died, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

John Monheim, 70, was pulled from the water and pronounced dead shortly after he disappeared near Cedar Point about 3 p.m., John Wisse, a Ohio Division of Watercraft spokesman, said.

Mr. Monehim was not wearing a flotation device, Mr. Wisse said.

He had finished fishing for the day with three friends, also from Orrville, when several three-to-five foot waves washed over the bow of their 27-foot fishing boat as they headed toward a condominium. Mr. Monheim fell in the water.

His companions were able to pull the boat alongside Mr. Monheim, who was considered a good swimmer. They threw him a fishing net, but he couldn't hold on and disappeared into the water, Mr. Wisse said.

Help was summoned and Mr. Monheim's body was recovered. An autopsy has been ordered.

The watercraft division identified the companions as Thomas Smith, 68; George Harris, 70, and James Schenevey, 70.

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