HARRISON TWP. (WWJ) — Authorities have suspended the search for missing Southfield fire chief Keith Rowley, who fell overboard in Lake St. Clair on Friday.
The search has changed from a search-and-rescue operation to a recovery effort, according to police. The search for a body continued into Saturday and was suspended at 9 p.m.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Will Americans Get Another Relief Payment?
Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said that dive teams will resume the recovery effort at around 7 a.m. Sunday.
“This operation that the dive team is involved in is strictly a recovery aspect of it,” Wickersham said.
58-year-old Rowley, of Milford, was out on the lake with three friends around 7 p.m. Friday when he went overboard.
“They were just traveling back from a day out on the water heading back to the marina,” Wickersham said. “The information that we have is that a hat blew off of the operator of the vessel and that the fire chief then jumped in the water to retrieve it.”READ MORE: Michigan Reports 7,185 New COVID-19 Cases, 35 Deaths
Rowley’s friends tried to help him, but were unsuccessful.
“Due to the high winds, they tried to turn the boat around and get close. They report that they were unable to get close enough to throw a life ring to him and then he went under,” said Wickersham.
Police quickly responded to the scene and launched a search operation. They also interviewed Rowley’s friends, a 55-year-old Rochester Hills woman, a 38-year-old Bloomfield Township woman and a 55-year-old Troy man.
“Once our deputies arrived and began gathering information, it was apparent that the operator of that vessel was intoxicated and he was taken into custody,” Wickersham said.MORE NEWS: MDOT: Final Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup Of 2021 Starts September 25
The Troy man was arrested for operating a watercraft while intoxicated. His name was not released.