The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 15, 2013

Dive operations suspended in search for 13-year-old boy

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — As of about 3 p.m. Sunday, all dive operations were suspended in the search for the body of a 13-year-old boy who is presumed to have drowned Friday in Lake Erie.

Saybrook Township Fire Chief John Jyurovat said the U.S. Coast Guard and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft will still continue to search for the boy, but divers will not be deployed unless new information is obtained and there is a need.

Multiple agencies have been searching for the boy since about 9 p.m. Friday, when he went missing while swimming in the area of 6657 Lake Road West. The U.S. Coast Guard has been searching non-stop since the time of the incident. The search became designated a recovery mission Saturday evening.

On Sunday, a crew from Brecksville assisted in the search with positioning sonar, Jyurovat said.

“They were on the Coast Guard boat and as they found contacts, divers were deployed to check them out,” he said.

Jyurovat said officials are still hopeful they will recover the boy’s body, it’s just a matter of when.

“We’re hopeful we will find him, just not as fast as we would like,” he said. “I hope within the next day or so we will find him. We will continue to patrol and keep looking.”

Jyurovat said the list of agencies that have assisted in the search is amazing.

Departments participating included Saybrook Fire Department, Geneva Fire Department, Northwest Ambulance District, Conneaut, Rome, Orwell fire departments, the Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Depart-ment, the Ohio State High-way Patrol and a Marine Assist boat. The Hillcrest Search and Rescue, Lake County Sheriff’s Dive Team and the Mentor Dive Team joined the search on Saturday morning.

While the victim’s name has not officially been released, a vigil of hope for 13-year-old Jermaine Marcus Zirkle, of Madison, was held Saturday night at Madison Village Square.

Coast Guard officials were told several children were swimming in Lake Erie under adult supervision when the incident occurred. The details of what happened are unclear at this time.

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