Missing boater's father: "We just want to get him home" - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Missing boater's father: "We just want to get him home"

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The Ottawa County Sheriff says he has suspended the search for the two remaining missing boaters on Lake Erie Friday evening.  He tells 13abc, "We have concluded our search for the victims."

The Ottawa County coroner says the cause of death for the two recovered boaters is drowning.  The coroner says the autopsies did not find signs of hypothermia. The Lucas County coroner conducted the autopsies of Amy Santus and Paige Widmer.

We are learning more about the two remaining missing boaters on Lake Erie.

Bryan Huff of Rossford is an experienced fisherman. His dad says he lived on the lake.

Andrew Rose of Maumee works as a bartender in Downtown Toledo.

On Thursday rescue crews recovered the bodies of the two missing women who were also out fishing on the boat which capsized on Wednesday. Both were found wearing life vests.

The US Coast Guard suspended its search, but Friday the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft and the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office continued combing the water for the missing men using sonar equipment. They focused around Touissant Reef, the boat's last known location which is a popular fishing spot.

13abc's Christine Long reports from Carroll Township near Magee Marsh.

According to ODNR, there is no structural damage to the boat which was recovered yesterday. That means there was no collision. The boat didn't hit anything.

"They were likely on their way in based on what we can tell by the fishing gear was secured on the boat. So they were likely heading in," says Chad German with ODNR's Division of Wildlife. "It was a northeast breeze. It was anywhere from two to four foot waves. Choppy, but nothing that this style of boat couldn't operate in."

Ralph Huff, Bryan Huff's father, is anxiously waiting for answers along the water at Turtle Point Marina. Ralph Huff told 13abc off camera, "My boy was very, very experienced out there. He lived on the lake. He was a hunter and a fisherman. We just want to get him home."

"The operator, the owner of the boat, was very well versed in this area in particular fishing the big waters like Lake Erie," says German. "He fishes a lot of tournaments.He's an avid angler."

Andrew Rose worked at Home Slice Pizza in Downtown Toledo's Warehouse District as a bartender. The manager there tells 13abc he got worried when Rose didn't show up for work Wednesday night.

Rose and Huff had been out fishing with 33-year-old Amy Santus and 16-year-old Paige Widmer. On Thursday the U.S. Coast Guard found their bodies in the water several miles off shore. Both were wearing life vests.

Santus of Perrysburg was a registered nurse at Mercy Saint Charles Hospital in Oregon.

Widmer was from South Carolina and was in town visiting her father.

Her friends back in her hometown are in mourning.

"She's a really good person just to know," says Maddison Aaron, a friend of Paige Widmer. "She impacted so many people. Everybody loved Paige."

"When somebody enters the water unexpectedly, it's very incapacitating," says German.

State investigators have not yet determined why the group's 21-foot Tracker capsized, but they have a warning for the hundreds of boaters on the lake where water temperature is in the low 40s.

"Expect the unexpected because things can happen in a hurry and when you hit the cold water a lot of times you don't have the chance to grab the life jacket or grab that marine radio," says German.

 

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