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9-Year Old Among Holiday Weekend Drowning Victims: 5 Metro Detroiters Die, Including Boy

July 8, 2008

By Korie Wilkins and Amber Hunt, Detroit Free Press

Jul. 8–What already had been a deadly Fourth of July weekend got worse Monday as divers recovered the body of a 38-year-old Novi man. He drowned in Walled Lake.

Meanwhile, a 9-year-old boy died at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township on Monday night after spending about 40 minutes under water in a Ray Township pond. The boy had gotten stuck while playing with his 11-year-old brother behind their grandparents’ home.

Three other metro Detroiters have drowned since Saturday. In each case, no one was wearing a life vest or personal flotation device, officials said.

Monday night, Sgt. Dan Toth, commander of the Oakland County marine unit, and other members of the sheriff’s marine division searched Walled Lake with electronic equipment helping the Novi Fire Department locate the 38-year-old, whom police did not identify Monday night.

He was on a 17-foot boat with a 38-year-old woman and a 17-month-old boy, said Sheryl Walsh, Novi city spokeswoman. They had fishing equipment with them, she said.

They apparently ran into a wake caused by a larger boat and that threw the woman and young child into the water.

“The next thing she knew,” Walsh said of the woman, “they were in the water.”

The boat kept moving forward, and Walsh said another wave hit the man and he went under.

A witness on the shore of West Lake Drive was able to rescue the woman and her infant child, both from Novi. They were being treated at Huron Valley Hospital on Monday night. Both were expected to recover.

Despite attempts to revive him, the 9-year-old boy, who could not swim, did not survive, officials said.

The boy got sucked under in a pond at 27 Mile Road, just west of Romeo Plank.

Although the pond is 20 feet deep in places, Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said the depth wasn’t the problem: The pond’s bottom was thick with dense mud, trapping the boy and pulling him under.

Other emergency personnel battled with the mucky pond bottom until a firefighter from Armada Township brought out diving gear and located the boy.

Meanwhile, two Detroit-area residents who drowned in a weekend boating accident were identified Monday by the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff John Sonntag identified the victims Monday as Deantre Lott, 16, of Redford Township and Sydnet Noland, 33, of Detroit. The accident happened Sunday in the Canadian Lakes area of Morton Township, about 135 miles northwest of Detroit.

On Saturday, a 39-year-old Wixom man drowned in Saginaw Bay at the Caseville County Park Beach.

According to the Huron County Sheriff’s Office, Thomas E. Weaver was wading in about 4 feet of water while using a metal detector to search for valuables, when he called for help several times before going under the water.

Contact KORIE WILKINS at 248-351-5186 or kwilkins@freepress.com. Staff writers Joe Rossiter and Dan Cortez contributed to this report.

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