On Sunday about 8pm a man was reported overboard on a boat on PM Lake. A search and rescue ensued for 24 hours, then the individual was found. Tonight at the Harbor View Marina I talked briefly with a MCSO Deputy/reserve officer. The drowned man was found on bottom deceased. His name was not yet available. Sad ordeal early in the boating season.

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The identity of the deceased has been finally released.

LUDINGTON — The body of Jay Phillip Cutter, 38, of Manistee County, was recovered from Pere Marquette Lake Monday, June 18, at 8:46 p.m. after drowning Sunday evening, according to Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett.
Cutter jumped off a boat, attempting to retrieve an inner tube, while boating with two other adults and three children on Father’s Day. Divers searched tirelessly for his body since his drowning.
Cutter’s body was located in 20-feet-deep water between the Ludington Boat Club and the Ludington Yacht Club using side scan sonar and a remotely operated vehicle, Barnett said.
His body was transported to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital by Life EMS, and an autopsy will be conducted Tuesday in Kalamazoo, the chief said.
Shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday, members of the Ludington Police Department, Ludington Fire Department, Mason County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Coast Guard-Station Ludington responded to the drowning.
After jumping into the water to retrieve an inner tube that had blown into the lake due to the wind, Cutter “indicated that he was having trouble and the remaining occupants threw him a life jacket,” Barnett said. “However, the wind blew it away from him. The boat operator circled back around, and they were unable to locate Cutter in the water.”
Boat crews and divers from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, the Ludington Police Department and the Michigan State Police conducted surface and underwater searches until his body was found.
“At this point there is no indication that alcohol played a part in the incident,” Barnett said.


Prayers of healing for those kids, and adults, present who witnessed this, particularly if Jay was their father, uncle, brother, son or other relative or close friend. 

Thanks for the details X, so sad, and astounding facts in this day and age. Very sad news and hoping none others face this tragic circumstance this season again.

Anyone have a clue as to what kind of boat was involved? Curious as to the make and length. And was the owner at the helm? The wind was gusty at the time, 10-20 mph out of the SW.

Also why did the skipper circle around instead of putting it into reverse especially in lieu of the life jacket blowing away from the man in the water?  No one in the media thought to ask how good a swimmer he was?

And aren't you required to carry a throwable devise beyond having life jackets onboard?

A tragedy that didn't have to happen. Errors compounded by more errors. 

Yes shinblind, a life ring with an attached 50' rope is required by all boats too, and should have been thrown to the man in the water right away. He could have also just hopped on the innertube he was retrieving for safety, but for some reason didn't. Loss of life that wasn't necessary at all, sad.

A lot of questions remain unanswered despite the passage of nearly two days, I really wish our officials were more transparent with relevant information available after such incidents, but even Jay Cutter's name was not released until over 24 hours after his disappearance and after his body was recovered.  

The tragedy has a couple of lessons.  Retrieving a wayward inner tube is not worth risking your life for needlessly; since he wasn't wearing a life vest he should have at least grabbed a life ring when he dove into the water. 

It also shows the PM Lake/Ludington Harbor area can be hazardous, as it can often be nearly as choppy as the lake when the winds blow.  Even though this was likely a motorboat, why encourage kayaks and canoes to go out into dangerous waters by making the West End of Ludington a publicly-funded trailhead for such excursions, when several private businesses already offer such amenities in safer and more interesting parts of the PM River, including one just south of the twin bridges of the PM Highway?

It seems to me that nobody jumps out of a boat into choppy water if they  do not think they are a good swimmer. It's to bad this happened especially since there were flotation devices and a boat present.


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