(Union Pier, MI) - Seven children found out Lake Michigan is no ordinary body of water after rescued a good distance from the shoreline at Union Pier. The children ages 7 to 13 were a bit shaken up but did not require medical attention.
“They were just a little scared and learned a big life lesson,” said Mary Jaconetti, the mother of one of the children. The Chicago woman said the lake was like glass on June 9 when the children ventured out on two paddleboards and a floating dock at Berrien Beach at Lakeshore Drive and Goodwin St.
At some point, she said the children wanting to go further out into the water, so they removed the weight anchoring the floating dock to the bottom of the lake. After drifting a bit too far out, Jaconetti said the children tried paddling back only to have more distance added between them and the shoreline despite the lake being calm.
“There must have been a strong current underneath that was kind of pulling them out slowly,” she said. Eventually, Jaconetti said a call was placed to 911 after realizing the children now a few hundred yards away were not gaining any ground with their paddles. She and the other panic-stricken parents all visiting each other for the weekend also flagged down a man passing by on a jetski.
Jaconetti said the watercraft operator brought back two of the children while the rest were grabbed by firefighters approaching on a rescue boat. All of the children had on lifejackets, she said. Jaconetti said all of the parents agreed there will be stricter standards for the children if they ever want to return to the water on the floatation devices.
One of them will be not to detach the weight from the floating dock. “It was a very nerve-racking period of time and I hope others will learn from the experience,” she said.