Rahem Mason, a 17-year-old from South Bend, Indiana, was swimming in the area of Washington Park in Michigan City around 7:10 p.m. when he went under the water and didn't resurface, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. There were no life guards on duty at the time, and there was a no swim advisory in place because of dangerous swimming conditions.
The National Weather Service issued a Beach Hazard Statement for Lake Michigan beaches and shoreline Sunday. The warning was in effect until Sunday, 10 p.m. in Illinois and Monday, 5 a.m. in Indiana, prompting scuba divers to call off the water search and continue to search from shore.
On Monday morning, an aerial search was conducted utilizing a drone. Sonar could not be used and divers were still unable to enter the water, according to authorities. They intend to use sonar and divers to search on Tuesday, conditions permitting.
The dangerous conditions developed Saturday afternoon as a cool front dropped south and winds shifted to the northeast from Waukegan south through Chicago and Gary, Indiana. This allowed waves to build from 3 to 6 feet as they crashed on beaches. Still, emergency responders immediately began searching upon arriving to the scene, including using boats and a helicopter deployed by the U.S. Coast Guard, authorities said.
Wave size and strength are driven by wind speed and the distance the wind travels over Lake Michigan.