Divers Continue Searching Mason County’s Hamlin Lake for Ottawa Co. Man

The search for a man’s body in Hamlin Lake continues, more than 24 hours after he went under.

Saturday night we told you the Mason County Sheriff’s Office was searching Hamlin Lake for a man who went overboard and didn’t resurface.

We can now tell you that the victim is 54-year-old Robert Conklin from West Olive Michigan.

The Mason County sheriff tells us that Conklin was fishing with a woman in a remote part of Hamlin Lake called the Narrows when it happened.

Crews searched for five hours Saturday from 1 p.m. until dark and came back early Sunday morning to continue looking for Robert Conklin.

“She said the boat had made a sudden turn or something to that effect and it had knocked her into the water and then somehow the male ended up in the water as well,” Sheriff Kim Cole said.

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole says people in a boat nearby couldn’t reach Conklin in time.

“Some passerbys pulled her out and they had actually tossed him a life ring but he wasn’t able to get it and he ended up going under,” he said.

Sunday two sheriff’s boats and around six divers combed through the Narrows.

“Witnesses told us they thought he went down at 7-10 foot of water. It’s a big Inland Lake but it’s not Lake Michigan so we’re able to narrow that area down considerably,” Cole said.

Sheriff Cole says the fishing boat the pair was on had a scanning device.

“We can check their GPS track and we will be going back today and doing an exact track of what that boat did,” Cole said.

The boat drifted after the two went overboard, making the exact location hard to find.

But Cole says the rainy day did not make it any harder.

“We have experienced operators on the boats and our divers have not had an issue,
he said.

Sheriff Cole tells us this is the fifth drowning the county has seen this year.

“It’s been a long year for our dive team and our marine patrol, that’s for sure.”

And he’s stressing the importance of knowing your waterways

“Hamlin lake is traditionally a safe lake, although it experiences a lot of boat traffic, but that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down,” he said.

Sheriff Cole tells us they will be back Monday morning to continue recovery efforts.