Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 16, 2013

Teens tried to save downstate man from drowning


---- — GLEN ARBOR — A Detroit man became the third drowning death in the Lake Michigan waters off Leelanau County, despite four teenage boys' efforts to save him.

Dylan Curtis Bailey, 24, drowned Thursday in Sleeping Bear Bay directly off Old Homestead Road. The incident occurred at about 1:55 p.m.

Leelanau County Undersheriff Steve Morgan said a group of teenagers playing volleyball on the beach saw Bailey jogging and then enter the water for a swim.

“At one point they heard him yelling and realized he was in distress,” Morgan said.

Four teens swam into the bay to rescue Bailey, who was submerged and unresponsive in water about 200 yards offshore. Morgan said the teens were high school cross country runners from Hastings and East Kentwood staying at a camp at The Leelanau School.

Morgan said one teen dragged Bailey back to shore; a rescuer on the beach unsuccessfully tried to revive Bailey with CPR for more than 30 minutes.

When EMS arrived, he was connected to an emergency shocking device, but there was “no shock indicated, meaning he was essentially deceased,” said Matthew Houghton, medical examiner for Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse counties.

“They worked on him with advanced life support for 30 minutes and got nothing back,” he said.

The cause of death was fresh water wet drowning, meaning he inhaled the water, Houghton said.

The water temperature was 63 degrees. Riptides played a role in previous drownings, but there was no riptide warning on Thursday, a day of low winds, said Tom Skowronski, emergency management director for Leelanau County.

Morgan said Bailey wasn't carrying identification and deputies went across the area to find if someone was missing. He said authorities discovered Bailey was staying at The Homestead resort with a friend and the friend’s father, both from the Grosse Pointe area.

Officials from The Homestead said they could provide no information on the incident or Bailey.

At least seven people have perished in northern Michigan waters in recent months.