News | 10-year-old Girl Dies While Paddleboarding in Lake Michigan

Oceana County, Michigan—After a year plagued by tragic accidents on the water another SUP death struck the community Monday afternoon near Mears State Park on Lake Michigan. The victim, a 10-year-old girl named Hannah Harris, was playing with her younger sister on standup paddleboards offshore while their dad was working on the roof of a nearby cottage. Neither sister was wearing a life jacket or leash.

“The conditions on the lake (were) really pretty rough,” says Lt. Craig Mast with the Oceana County Sheriff’s Department. “Between three- and four-foot waves yesterday afternoon. We had a pretty good offshore breeze producing those waves.”

It’s presumed the girls lost control of their paddleboards and fell into the rough water.

“We are led to believe the younger sister tried to assist her older sister, and realized that that was causing her to struggle as well,” says Lt. Mast. “She then had to release and swim for shore herself.”

The younger sister made it to shore. Hannah had been in the water for too long by the time police arrived and administered CPR. She passed away that afternoon, becoming the 41st drowning victim claimed by Lake Michigan this year.

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