By Mary Drier
TUSCOLA COUNTY — An afternoon of fishing with a friend on Saginaw Bay in northwest Tuscola County turned tragic for a 39-year-old Reese man.
At about 7:41 p.m. Saturday, Tuscola County Sgt. Michael Mattlin responded to a report of a boat accident with two men in the water that happened about five miles from Fish Point off of Thomas Road in Akron Township.
Also, the U. S. Coast Guard – Saginaw River Station was contacted. They sent an air-boat from their station in Bay City, and the Detroit Coast Guard station sent a helicopter to assist in the search. Plus, the Huron County Sheriff’s Department’s Dive Team and air-boat responded.
At about 9:14 p.m., that night Gary Godfrey, 51, of Banister, was rescued. He was found by the helicopter aircrew clinging to the hull of the capsized air-boat.
“He was hoisted aboard the aircraft and transported to Bay City Medical Center where he was reported to be in stable condition,” said the press release from the Coast Guard.
Godfrey was operating a 14-foot aluminum, flat-bottom air-boat across the ice when the boat hit a patch of open water.
“The front of the boat dove down into the water and both men were ejected,” said Tuscola County Undersheriff Glen Skrent. “Godfrey started for the shore but returned to the boat.”
His passenger, Jason King, of Reese attempted to swim to the ice but didn’t make it.
The Coast Guard continued to search for King for over seven hours thoroughly covering the quarter-mile search area of open water as well as areas of surrounding ice.
The Coast Guard suspended its active search for King Sunday morning.
Rescue crews from Huron and Tuscola County continued to search the area with dive teams and underwater cameras.
The Huron County Dive Team recovered King about 6:30 p.m., Sunday in eight to nine feet of water about six miles west of Cottage Drive.
Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.