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Old 27-06-2016, 10:53   #1
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Ever found a body?... I did!

Me and some friend formed a flotilla so to speak to head down to Chicago for the America's Cup World Series event. Our trip across Lake Michigan was a pleasant one over the evening and night.

Around 4:50AM I was on watch with my two mates below catching some sleep. We'd sailed most of the night and were motoring at 6knts. I notice about 100 yards of the starboard bow something floating. We are 8 miles out of Chicago so there is the usual plastic trash and garbage out there. The more I look at it the more it doesn't seem right. It was floating fairly high out of the water like a log might stick out but was flowing and bending with the waves... In the back of my head I'm arguing with myself if it is or isn't. I decided had it been my loved ones body I'd want the person to investigate. So I put the helm over and motor in to take a closer look.

Again as we motor in closer I keep going back and forth if it is a body or not. Finally I get close enough to make out a back pocket of a pair of jeans. It was one of those moments that seems to last forever as you take in all the details and your emotions are trying to figure out what to do. Hair on my neck standing on its end I idled the engine to neutral and gave a bellow of all hands on deck. My friend not being used to much more than day sailing weren't sure what I was up to.

Finally they poked their heads up and asked what was up. I let them wake up a minute and asked them to take a seat. The whole time I'm circling the body. Finally I tell them and point it out to their astonished faces. I watch them go through the it is/ it isn't argument with themselves.

I radio to our fellow boats and let them know the situation and that we will be a little later than expected getting into port. I the radio the Coast Guard who puts me to the Chicago PD Marine Division and read of my position. After a bit they show up and thank us for remaining on scene. They tell me to call into the office once I've gotten into port.

I arrive in port give a call and give them my crews and mine info and that was pretty much that. The Police and Coasties performed professionally and politely.

At 5 in the morning I'm going to say I was more than a little tired on my watch. I at one point was doing the nod and jerk while sitting there. I had gotten up and done some stretches and what not to wake up. This just goes to show the importance of keep an eye out, and being situation-ally aware. I feel it was mostly by luck that I even spotted it. It runs through my mind that it could've just as easily been someone still alive and hypothermic, hardly able to wave their arms. Would I have nodded off as I passed by?

It turns out it was one of 3 bodies pulled from the lake that weekend. Apparently some kids and jumped in the harbor during a high wind day when the beach was too wavy. What they didn't think of was the extremely strong current it creates and were swept out. Not sure if this is what happen to the body I found but at least one of other bodies was identified from that group.

We had fun the rest of the weekend watching the boats race, hanging out on boats, going out on the town ect. One of the boats set a speed record of 34.7knts! We had some good wind one day! Amazing to watch those things go.

Here is a link to the story although I'm not sure what boat was disabled?!?
Body recovered from Lake Michigan 7 miles east of Montrose Beach | abc7chicago.com

Have you ever found a body or rescued someone?
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Old 27-06-2016, 11:55   #2
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

We did, 23yr old on a wave runner, apparently intoxicated jumped a wave knocked himself out ended up face down in the water. One of our crew did cpr for a long long time to no avail. Quite sad

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Old 27-06-2016, 12:13   #3
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

what a strange thread.

is this something to be proud of?
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Old 27-06-2016, 12:20   #4
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

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Originally Posted by appick View Post
We had fun the rest of the weekend watching the boats race, hanging out on boats, going out on the town ect. One of the boats set a speed record of 34.7knts! We had some good wind one day! Amazing to watch those things go.
I agree, a little confusing regarding the tone. This last bit (above) probably should have been saved for a different thread.

"Found a dead body, had a great time.............wish you were here".
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Old 27-06-2016, 12:40   #5
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

I was hired to search (by air) for a missing person who was presumed drowned from a jet-ski accident. Flew about 80 miles of low tide beach at very low altitude . I did find something that appeared to be a badly decomposing body but could not verify from the air. The area was remote so I returned by boat and I'm telling you it was very creepy as we got close to this object.

It turned out that I was correct - it was a decomposing body. A deer carcass.

The missing person was never found.

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Old 27-06-2016, 12:49   #6
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

I've never been the first one to spot a body, but I helped recover someone who apparently fell off the dock at the marina one night. His body was found the next morning, being kept floating by his laptop carry-bag, which was on a shoulder strap.

As a member of the volunteer fire department, I've helped recover bodies from the beach / rocks, and of course auto wrecks.

No, it's nothing to be proud of, but it is an experience that stays with you for a long time. It affects people in different ways. Talking about it seems to help.
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Old 27-06-2016, 12:55   #7
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

No I wouldn't say I'm proud of it I was just curious. Sorry for giving the rest of the details about my trip. I don't think it shows any lack of respect on my part. My cousin wanted to take a picture of the body..., I told him that was not going to happen! After going through the whole, "you know that was someone's son, daughter, ect". He understood what I was getting at. The person is gone but the body still deserves respect.

I did find it odd, after we were motoring away how unaffected I seemed to be. It was just kind of like, "huh... so that happened". Then I made breakfast. What else are you going to do life goes on.

Yea it is a strange thread I guess, but from my point of view not the strangest I've ever read here . I was shocked when I posted on facebook to those following our America's Cup trip what had happened. A number of people said it had always been a "secret desire" to find a body?! Now that is weird!

Anyways just wanted to share my sailing story.
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Old 27-06-2016, 14:30   #8
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

Friend's story: Sailing in the San Francisco Bay during Fleet Week and hear radio chatter. Turn up the radio to hear someone had raised their anchor to discover a body hanging on it, and the friend was in viewing distance so they saw it all. Apparently it's very deep out there. 150 ft?
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Old 27-06-2016, 14:37   #9
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

Was taking a late season boat ride and came upon a woman who just jumped off the Delaware Memorial Bridge needless to say she was deceased .Hung out until the fire company came to retrieve the body
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Old 27-06-2016, 15:22   #10
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

Quote:
Originally Posted by iSaint View Post
Friend's story: Sailing in the San Francisco Bay during Fleet Week and hear radio chatter. Turn up the radio to hear someone had raised their anchor to discover a body hanging on it, and the friend was in viewing distance so they saw it all. Apparently it's very deep out there. 150 ft?
Yeah, I was on the water then and heard this, too. My friends are CG auxiliarists and they say it happens quite a bit because of jumpers off the Golden Gate Bridge. A sailor here actually recovered a jumper who nearly landed on top of his boat, but I don't recall if that person lived or not. Bodies tend to sink and then refloat a couple days later. Understanding this phenomenon helps law enforcement to locate them, especially if there's information on their last known position.

As to depths, the deepest parts are under the bridge (~300') because of the scouring from the tidal flow. It's also a great place to watch harbor porpoises forage and mate during the max ebbs and flows - one of the few places to see this elusive cetacean. Circle of life, I guess...
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Old 27-06-2016, 16:31   #11
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

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Bodies tend to sink and then refloat a couple days later....
As to depths, the deepest parts are under the bridge (~300')
YEs and the cold water makes them stay there.

300 ft? wow didn't know this. Thought it much shallower there.
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Old 27-06-2016, 16:42   #12
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

I'm a bit unsure about writing this but I was supposed yo mx I got in Malaysia from Singapore but woke up too late I.e. Hung over. I got a call later to go out and recover a motorbike whose owner had been taken to hospital. When I arrived the motorcyclist was still there so I loaded both on the pickup and headed to Singapore. I had to keep stopping to put him in the recovery position but his friends kept rolling him onto his back. He eventually died between Malaysia and Singapore customs and I had a lot of explaining to do. The op is correct it does stay with you a long time and there were a lot of mixed emotions along with it. It was a youngish Indian police officer who took a very unemotional view of the whole thing and helped me through it all, I honestly thought I was going to be jail. Anyway live and learn...
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Old 27-06-2016, 16:43   #13
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

"It's also a great place to watch harbor porpoises forage and mate during the max ebbs and flows - one of the few places to see this elusive cetacean."

We're seeing them just about every time we go sailing, and just about anywhere in the bay. They seem to like the area south of the western section of the bay bridge. Elusive? Not any more, which is noteworthy in itself as they are excellent indicators of water cleanliness.
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Old 27-06-2016, 17:04   #14
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

Yes It does stay with you. 34 years of police work you'll get more than your share. I guess the trick is to not bring it home with you. Now I work at one of the busiest hospitals in Mid Michigan, yup you guessed it. Stationed at the morgue! Sailing helps you to forget, or makes you concentrate on other stuff.


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Old 27-06-2016, 17:44   #15
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Re: Ever found a body?... I did!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
YEs and the cold water makes them stay there.

300 ft? wow didn't know this. Thought it much shallower there.
Actually 333' according to the NOAA chart I just pulled up.
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