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WATCH NOW: Teen remains missing after disappearing off Portage Riverwalk, official says
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WATCH NOW: Teen remains missing after disappearing off Portage Riverwalk, official says

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PORTAGE — A male teen remains missing after being pulled under the water Sunday by large waves and rip currents at Portage Riverwalk and Lakefront. 

Terri Millefoglie, an officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, said a group of five male teens from Illinois were swimming at the lakefront around 11 a.m. Sunday when the waves pulled them under. 

One of the teens, who is about 16, remained missing Sunday evening, Millefoglie said. 

"We're still searching here at Portage Lakefront. We'll go until probably at least dark, and then we'll start again at daybreak," Millefoglie said. 

Four others also were involved with the incident at the lakefront. Two involved rescued themselves and two were hospitalized after a Good Samaritan on a jet ski stepped in to help, Millefoglie said. 

One of the teens has since been released from the hospital, while a male from the group remains in critical condition, she said.  

Officers also responded to a drowning at Porter Beach that sent a man to a hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

Millefoglie said there were multiple water rescues on Sunday with local agencies, including Lake County Sheriff Marine Unit and the U.S. Coast Guard assisting.

"The rip currents are really bad right now," Millefoglie said. "People aren't listening. They need to get out of the water. Not even (go) waist deep because the rip currents are pulling so hard." 

She added: "It's just been extremely dangerous today."

On Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a beach hazards statement for shores along Lake and Porter counties. 

Waves reaching 3-5 feet were expected along with strong rip currents, NWS said. NWS also advised beachgoers to avoid the water and shoreline structures.

NWS said a high-swim risk for Indiana Lake Michigan beaches would remain into effect until Sunday evening. 

According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there have been 32 drownings, along with one unknown condition, at Lake Michigan since Jan. 1. Statistics were last updated Friday. 

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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