PORTAGE, Indiana (SCS) – Crews will continue a recovery effort Wednesday morning after a man fell off an ice floe in Indiana Dunes National Park and ended up in Lake Michigan Monday evening.
It has been over 36 hours since Bryce Dunfee was last seen.
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Officials said due to strong wind and wave conditions on Wednesday, there will be no search by boat.
FROM RESCUE TO RECOVERY:
It’s been 16 hours since an Indianapolis man fell into Lake Michigan while walking on pack ice – he’s now presumed dead
Wind wreaks havoc in efforts to retrieve it at Indiana Dunes
— Marissa Parra (@MarParNews) February 22, 2022
At 5.30pm, first responders were called to West Beach in the national park after reports five people had been on the pack ice along the shore – only for the ice to follow. The group retreated to shore except for one person who fell into the water, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
The others attempted to join their friend, but large waves and unstable ice undermined that effort.
The search for the missing person continued on Monday evening. conservation officers from Indiana, as well as fire crews from Portage, Porter and Ogden Dunes; Lake County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department; the Indiana Dunes National Park Rangers; and the US Coast Guard were all involved.
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“A pretty chaotic rescue scene, but it’s a very difficult rescue scene in terms of wave action and ice. I mean, even now there are chunks of ice in the water that are very large, floating, and being beaten by the waves,” Indiana conservation officer Nicole Baumann said.
Waves in the area were 3 to 5 feet Monday night.
Conservation officers reminded people that ice shelves are dangerous and everyone should stay away.
Just a day before the incident, the Ogden Dunes Fire Department warned visitors to avoid the pack ice along Lake Michigan.
The warning was posted on Facebook and included photos of visitors venturing onto the pack ice.
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