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Coast Guard warns of dangerous conditions after swimmer goes missing in Lake Michigan

NOW: Coast Guard warns of dangerous conditions after swimmer goes missing in Lake Michigan

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CUDAHY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Coast Guard is warning of dangerous conditions one day after a 19-year-old swimmer went into Lake Michigan and never resurfaced. 

Agencies returned to Warnimont Park Tuesday for a recovery effort, after the missing teenager's friends reported him missing Monday night.

The Milwaukee Sheriff, Milwaukee Police, and DNR are all out on the water Tuesday searching for the missing swimmer. The Coast Guard says Lake Michigan's rising water level makes swimming more dangerous than usual.

"The Coast Guard searched last night," Lt. Phillip Gurtler said. "They conducted a search involving the Coast Guard helicopter and Coast Guard small boats. Regrettably, the Coast Guard did suspend that search late last night."

The friends were swimming near Warnimont Golf Course. The Coast Guard recommends always swimming at a regulated beach. 

Some neighbors say lake access from the golf course should be restricted. 

"Some people were talking last night who said they should put up a bigger fence or a wall," said Timothy Cornale, who lives nearby.

The Coast Guard does not know the exact circumstances of the incident, but says the near record water level makes Lake Michigan more dangerous. Safe swimming locations are now several feet deeper, and they've noticed more high profile cases of rip currents pulling people away.

"Rip currents can happen anywhere, at any time," said Lt. Gurtler. "Any depth of water. Even if it's a rip current that only goes up to your knees, it's enough to knock a full grown adult male off his feet."

People often try to swim against rip currents, but they move faster than most Olympic swimmers, so that isn't a safe strategy.

"Your best open is actually to swim parallel to the shore, to get out of that rip current," Lt. Gurtler said. "That rip current is only about 30-feet wide, so if you can swim out of it, at that point you're safe to swim back in."

None of the swimmers have been identified at this time. The Milwaukee County Sheriff is still investigating what led to the teenager going missing.


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