Missing paddler in Ozaukee Co.: Now recovery mission, crews find her lifejacket
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Missing paddler in Ozaukee Co.: Now recovery mission, crews find her lifejacket

Jun 19, 2023

OZAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. — The Ozaukee County Sheriff is asking everyone along Lake Michigan between the City of Sheboygan and Port Washington to check for signs of a missing paddle boarder.

On Friday, the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office said in an update that crews found her life jacket off the shore of Kohler Andrae State Park in Sheboygan County. Family confirmed the jacket belonged to the missing woman. She has still not been found.

The sheriff's office said the search has now transitioned from a rescue search to a recovery search.

The paddle the missing woman used is also missing. The paddle is described as a single stand-up paddle board paddle, with an orange handle, silver shaft and black paddle blade.

Efforts have been underway in Lake Michigan to find the 49-year-old missing woman.

A sergeant with the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office tells us the missing Wisconsin woman, who is not from this area, has not been seen since Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. when she came here to Harrington Beach State Park to paddle board. More than seventeen hours later Thursday morning, the missing woman’s blue and white paddle was spotted on shore in Sheboygan County—with still no sign of her.

Good Samaritans like Jim Roth showed an investigator with the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office shoes along Harrington Beach Shore Friday, where the missing paddle boarder was last seen.

Unfortunately, it was not a match. Roth said, “We all should really be doing our part - if we see something suspicious that we should report it.”

All day Friday, he saw rescue teams along the shore, searching for the missing woman, last seen wearing:

Dave Benjamin co-created a non-profit called Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, after he nearly drowned in 2010 while surfing in Lake Michigan. He’s been tracking the dangers ever since. So far this year, his organization has counted 50 Great Lakes drownings. 20 of those are in Lake Michigan alone.

He said of the search and rescue efforts, “It is very concerning that this woman has not been located yet.”

A strong reminder to look out for one another in any body of water.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project hopes everyone will learn this saying: if you are struggling in the water, like a rip current, “Flip-Float-Follow.”

First flip on your back, calm down and float on the surface, and follow the shore with your eyes until you can gain the strength to get back on land.

If you have seen any sign of this missing woman along Lake Michigan, call the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office at: (262) 284-7172.

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