Lake Lansing Search Is Off

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Neighbors looked on Sunday as divers searched Lake Lansing for the two people witnesses say fell in Saturday. Some are still hopeful it never happened.

"I just hope maybe they didn't actually see people fall in. There was something else they saw in the open water," said Payton Warner, who lives on Lake Lansing.

That may not be as far-fetched as you'd think. There have been no reports of missing persons, no abandoned vehicles, and no sign of anyone under the ice.

"We had clear visibility today, approximately 40 feet, and we searched everywhere a body should be in this kind of drowning situation," said Sgt. Joe Brown of the Lansing Police Department and Capital Area Dive Team.

Brown was the first diver to go in Saturday night and said the next morning he still couldn't feel his fingers.

Brown says after just five to ten minutes in the water, his gear, which is designed for ice diving, froze to the point that it was inoperable. These conditions haven't made it easy for divers, but Brown says it'd be even harder without community support.

"It's just incredible the way this community has come together to help out," he said.

Penny Milliman opened her home to search teams, allowing them to use the restroom and escape the cold. The Warners, who live just a few doors down, donated food and hot drinks from their restaurant, which Milliman put out for the searchers in her kitchen. She says it's the least she could do after Meridian Township Fire saved her house when it went up in flames three years ago.

"If it weren't for the fire department, we wouldn't have had a home to move back into, but aside from that it's our civic duty to help out in a time of crisis," she said.

But back outside, the Capital Area Dive Team worried about hypothermia.

"The risk we put the divers in versus what benefit we may get's balancing out toward the safety of the divers," Brown said.

Brown says there's probably something that happened out there search teams aren't aware of -- and until they get new information -- the search is off.

The lake is five to ten feet deep where people may have fallen in. Brown says the rule of thumb is to search that same distance in diameter. Divers searched a forty foot diameter before calling the search off.

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