2014 spring Put-in-Bay fishing season marred by accident- Four people fishing reportedly from a small bass boat near Green and Rattlesnake Islands on Wednesday, April 16th, were reported missing shortly after midnight the next day when they failed to return to the launch ramp at Turtle Point Marina at Locust Point on the mainland west of the islands where they had parked their truck and boat trailer.
At first, no one knew for sure how many anglers were fishing from the boat. There were reports of three to five people. The 21-ft. Tracker boat they were using capsized at some point and was found partially submerged by the U.S. Coast Guard off the Davis-Bessie Nuclear Power Station near Toussaint Reef west of the islands at about 6:30 a.m. by a private boater. About three hours later,
the body of a 16-year-old woman, Page Widmer, from South Carolina, was found wearing a life jacket. Another woman, Page’s aunt, Amy Santus of Perrysburg, was found later that day also with a life jacket on.
In spite of a massive search involving the Coast Guard with boats and helicopters, Customs and Border Protection, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, local and Canadian resources, the bodies of their two male companions, Andrew Rose, 33, of Maumee, and Bryan Huff, 32, of Rossford, friends from childhood and avid fishermen who often took part in tournaments, were not recovered and they were presumed dead after the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search on Thursday evening. Searchers with the Division of Watercraft went out both Friday and Saturday according to reports. The ODNR was using sonar equipment to scan the
More than 200 square nautical miles were searched by Thursday evening. With water temperature still in the 30’s, there is little hope for rescuing someone who is in the water for more than an hour. Generally, if someone is not wearing a life jacket, their body
sinks to the bottom of the lake and doesn’t come up until it warms up. Autopsies conducted at the Lucas County Coroner’s Office showed Santus and Widmer drowned. The missing anglers touched base with their family at about 6 p.m., and everything seemed to be all right. In fact, the anglers had reportedly sent pictures of themselves fishing to their relatives.
When the boat was recovered, there appeared to be no major structural damage or signs of a collision. With debris floating coming into the lake after the winter, there is always concern about boats hitting logs and large items. Authorities said all safety equipment, including extra life jackets, was aboard the boat. The Division of Watercraft reportedly plans to look at the boat’s GPS to determine where the vessel was and could examine the boat motor to see if there were any problems with it.