I debated if I should tell this story but decided that because this Blog is about life at the cottage, that we should also share the bad things that can happen. I am also hoping that maybe it may make a difference to one person who read it and prevent a tragedy in their life.
We took some time off this past week and headed excitedly to the cottage.
Not long after arriving, we were sitting on the deck when we heard the sound of a helicopter.
A few minutes later we heard another helicopter. Husband said to me “what’s with the helicopters?”
I stepped off the deck and looked up to see where they were coming from and watched the distinct yellow choppers with the red tops and said “those are search and rescue” as I watched them head toward the lake.
Soon we learned there were four police cars sitting in front of a cottage a mile down the road from our cottage.
It didn’t take long to learn a man was missing from a boat on the lake. He had gone out fishing alone and was not wearing a life jacket. His friend looked out through a telescope less than an hour after he had gone out to fish and discover his dingy boat empty.
Shortly after their 911 call, the Police, the helicopters and Marnie Search and Rescue arrived and found his unoccupied boat.
For the next two days and late into each night the helicopters circled over the lake. Each time they flew over the cottage was a reminder to all of us that there was a family who had rented a cottage for a family vacation who was sitting waiting and hoping for good news.
As we took our morning and evening walks which always include a stop to look at the lake, we meet up with many other cottagers who also stopped at the lake. Each time we would see the boats of the search team and the helicopters searching.
Each of us would talk to the other asking if there was any news and all would say “I hope they find him soon.”
Out of respect, there was no one playing on the beaches and the fishermen stayed off the lake. Cottage area had an eerie silence with most sitting quietly on their decks or working in their gardens with the sounds of the helicopters above.
On day three the helicopters stopped hovering in the air and the search team switched to bring in the divers. The rescue team had been switched to the recovery team and cottage country got quieter.
The marine boats moved in closer to shore as they were now following the flow of the current in the lake.
The conversations on the morning and evening walks changed to “we hope they find his body soon to give the family some peace.”
At 3pm on Sunday, the underwater divers found his body and brought him in to be buried by his family. He was forty-eight years old.
This family will never know about the hundreds of cottagers who sat hoping and were praying for their loved one and them. Hoping for a miracle and then praying for their peace.
The lake is a beautiful place. It brings much joy and relaxation to many. The lake is also a dangerous place. It has a dangerous undertow. The weather over the lake can and does change in seconds with storms that blow in unexpected.
On the most beautiful sunny days, when the water is calm, the lake is still a dangerous place. Wear your life jacket.