October 30, 2014

Man swims one mile to safety

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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STANDISH — A man stranded on a boat in the Saginaw Bay was forced to swim one mile to shore Saturday evening according to the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department.

Paul Cerva of Midland was on his boat Saturday, Aug. 6 when it lost all electrical power and capsized, according to Undersheriff Donald McIntyre. The weather was not a factor in the boat capsizing, McIntyre added.

“All we know is that he (Cerva) had some equipment failure and had no cell phone,” McIntyre said. “The water was calm and we are not sure how his boat became capsized.”

According to McIntyre, Cerva was approximately one mile from the end of Pine River Road in Standish when he began swimming to shore at around 9 p.m.

“We received a call about a capsized boat with no occupant at 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning,” he said.

McIntyre said the Sheriff’s Department and the Standish Area Fire Authority responded and found the capsized boat. He added that the boat is licensed in Arizona.

As the department began to assemble a dive team to begin a search for the boat’s occupant, McIntyre said a call came in from Eagles Bay Marina saying that Cerva was there.

McIntyre said Cerva was fortunate to make it to shore, and added that he has never seen anyone swim that far from a capsized boat in the area.

“The time of the year really helped him,” he said. “If it were the spring or the fall and the water was colder, he might not have decided to swim for it.”

McIntyre said he advises anyone who is taking a boat onto the bay to be sure to have a functioning ship-to-shore radio, flares and a working cell phone.

Cerva, whose age was not available, could not be reached for comment.

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