Both bodies of boaters recovered from Black River in Port Huron

- The search and recovery for two men lost on the Black River was about to be called off when they were found Wednesday night.

The first man was discovered at 8:30, while in the last minutes before divers ended the search, the second drowning victim was found at about 9:30 p.m. They were found just north of the drawbridge and about 50 feet from where they were last seen, according to Dave Spencer.

It was at about 2:30 p.m. when four people on a rented pontoon came upon a dingy in the river.  

"This area where this occurred is an open wake," said Lt. Paul Reid "There was a report that another boat was going through and created a wake. And it is a possibility that the wave bounced the dingy and caused that gentleman to fall in."

The man knocked off we are told is local, from Port Huron. 

"He fell off his dingy, people in the pontoon boat were close by, he yelled for help," Reid said. "They came over, the driver of the pontoon boat jumped into the water to save the person from the dingy and now we have two missing people."

The three others on the pontoon boat with the driver told Lt. Reid that they saw them both go under and neither came up. The lieutenant said a couple days ago that the water was 52 degrees. 

"That cold water robs you of your strength really quickly," Reid said. 

The portion of the river is about eight to nine feet deep at times with a mild current but the murky water proved to be the most challenging part in the recovery. 

"Visibility in the Black River is always really poor," Reid said. "It's dark green water. The divers sometimes can't even see their hand in front of their face."

After the US Coast Guard helicopter left and the sonar equipped boat, divers continued to look up until the last moments of light when both bodies were found.

Police say the side sonar attached to the boat and the divers that lead to them being found.

Authorities have identified the victims as 47-year-old Robert Lewandowski of Port Huron, and 32-year-old Sumith Alex of Clinton Township. 
 

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