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63-year-old man drowns in Manistee Co. lake while trying to launch his boat, deputies say

MANISTEE COUNTY — The Manistee County Sheriff’s Office said Monday it is investigating a drowning that occurred in Manistee Lake at the Stronach Boat Launch in Stronach Township.

On Sunday around 2:40 p.m., deputies were sent to the Stronach Boat Launch for a report of a male struggling in the water.

Upon arrival, deputies found 63-year-old Gary Searles, of Dewitt, Michigan, face down in the water, deputies said.


Deputies got Searles out of the water and immediately began life-saving efforts, but unfortunately, they were not successful, deputies said.

The initial investigation indicates that Searles and his wife were launching their boat when it got away from the dock. Searles then entered the water to retrieve his boat when he began to struggle, deputies said.

The Manistee County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in this incident by MMR EMS, Stronach Township Fire/EMS, the United States Coast Guard, the Michigan DNR and Manistee County Central Dispatch.

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