8-year-old Saginaw girl died in weekend Lake Huron swimming tragedy

Victim's 7-year-old sister rescued

Photo of Angela Mulka
Aerial view of the Tawas Point lighthouse on Lake Huron in Tawas Point State Park.

Aerial view of the Tawas Point lighthouse on Lake Huron in Tawas Point State Park.

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An 8-year-old Saginaw girl died in a swimming accident in Lake Huron over the weekend after she began struggling while swimming with her sister near Tawas Point State Park, officials said. The victim's younger 7-year-old sister was rescued by a woman witness and was assisted by another woman in getting her safely to shore. The 8-year-old girl did not resurface.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are investigating the incident in Iosco County and said that about 30 members of the girl's family were in the park pavilion, while others were swimming at the beach.

Witnesses reported that at about 5 p.m. some girls who were swimming in a group started yelling for help. At first, the witnesses thought the girls were playing, but the two were struggling in distress, the Department of Natural Resources stated.

Witnesses from shore then went into the water to try to help the two girls. After rescuing the 7-year-old girl, her sister did not resurface. 

At the location where the drowning happened, the water drops off to a depth of about 20 feet before shallowing to 2-3 feet, about 75 yards offshore. The girls were swimming in the deeper area, and that is where the 8-year-old's body was later found. The Iosco Fire and Rescue dive team located the body near the lake bottom at a depth of about 20 feet, close to 50 yards from the beach.

Her body was taken by ambulance to Tawas St. Joseph Memorial Hospital. She was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m. by an emergency room physician there, according to statements made by the Department of Natural Resources. 

An autopsy on the girl is scheduled in Standish today, at the request of the county medical examiner.