Emergency Responders Recover Man’s Body after Drowning in Elk Lake

The Grand Traverse Sheriff's Department says 25-year-old Jamil Cooper of Traverse City drowned while he was swimming with three friends on Elk Lake on Saturday.

Cooper was swimming from a boat, but he was unable to get to the vessel before going under water.

His friends tried to save him, but he was unsuccessful.

Late Sunday morning, his body was finally found.  

“We've been observing most of the time, praying they'd find him immediately,” said Grand Traverse Rural Fire Chief Theo Weber.

The sheriff's department says the victim went for a swim and vanished.

A friend called 911, and then the search ensued. The Grand Traverse County Sheriff, Grand Traverse Rural Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard were all involved. Antrim County helped search the waters last night.

“They're using an underwater vehicle to search the bottom, or the ROV if you will, connected to the tether of the boat out there and scanning the bottom. It has a radar and a couple cameras on it.”

After searching all of Saturday evening, dive teams went out again this morning.

An unexpected accident given yesterday's nice weather.

“Yesterday was a calm day on the lake. It was sunny, no extreme weather. So I'm sure they were just relaxing and enjoying their day. Went into the water to cool off is my guess.”

Raejean Loper has been vacationing in the area for at least 10 years.

She watched the search effort since morning.

“The waters are kind of tricky out here,” Loper said. “One side of your boat might be quite shallow, and the other side of your boat is gonna be extremely deep. So these drop offs out here are quite steep.”

The Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department suspects the man wasn't wearing a life jacket.

“It's a reminder to all of us that you know especially with kids, adults that are not good swimmers to wear their life vests and remain as safe as possible out here.”

The sheriff’s department is working on notifying the family about what happened.