MICHIGAN CITY — Authorities will resume searching Lake Michigan Tuesday for Rahem Mason, the 17-year-old South Bend boy who last was seen going under the water Saturday night near Washington Park.
Planned diving operations were cancelled Monday due to dangerous 5-foot waves on the lake, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR said visual and drone searches of the area immediately around the Michigan City pier and breakwater found no trace of Mason.
Divers from the Michigan City police and fire departments, the LaPorte County sheriff's office and Indiana conservation officers, along with conservation officers in a sonar-equipped boat, are planning to be in the water Tuesday morning looking for Mason.
Witnesses said Mason appeared to have drowned in the lake at 7:07 p.m. on a day when swimming was prohibited due to high waves and rip currents, according to DNR.
In addition, lifeguards only are on duty at Washington Park until 6 p.m. on weekends.
Following the drowning report, Michigan City firefighters and a U.S. Coast Guard boat and helicopter visually scanned the lake for Mason. But scuba divers were unable to search under the water because of the dangerous conditions.
Searchers were restricted to continued surface scanning Sunday due to choppy waves on the lake.
Tyler Brock, an Indiana conservation officer, said the agency considers this to be a recovery mission and does not expect to find Mason alive.
Mason would have been a junior this fall at South Bend Washington High School where he played on the football team.
Records show at least 13 people have drowned in Lake Michigan so far this year, compared to eight drownings during the same period last year.