GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- A 12-year-old boy drowned in Lake Michigan at Marquette Beach in Gary Thursday evening.
Officials from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said a family from Glenwood, Ill., was swimming at Marquette Beach.
Witnesses said the boy was wading with family members in water that was about chest-deep when they unexpected stepped into deeper water.
"They were in about waist deep water and suddenly found themselves a little deeper than they expected, where they weren't able to touch the bottom," said Officer Tyler Brock, IDNR.
While the family struggled, one family member noticed the boy had not resurfaced. Lifeguards immediately began to look for the boy.
His family struggled to shore only to watch helplessly as divers, boaters and even a helicopter looked for their son.
Emergency services were called to help with the water search, and at about 6:20 p.m. a member of the Portage Fire Department found the boy in the water. He was taken to shore and pronounced dead.
The drowning is at least the 16th in Lake Michigan so far this year, and rescuers warned the weather this weekend could make for dangerous rip currents. As always, they cautioned the water is more powerful than people realize.