Hartland man drowns in White Lake while swimming

- It's a dreaded outcome that family and friends don't want to hear.

"It's unthinkable, my heart goes out to his family, his wife ... it's just a terrible tragedy," said family friend Christine Richardson.

On Sunday, a man who friends have identified as Todd Mara was in a pontoon boat on White Lake with his wife when he decided he needed relief from the hot, blazing sun.

"He was just going to jump in and cool off. He did a pencil jump in, feet first. He didn't hit his head and went under," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

As the pontoon boat drifted, his wife soon realized something was wrong when he did not resurface. That's when emergency crews were called to the scene to help rescue the missing man. But on Monday, the mission turned into an effort to recover a body.

Friends like Christine Richardson showed up to the search site to offer their support to the family of a man who friends say was loved by everyone who knew him.

"Kind, nice, funny, giving, loving, supportive," Richardson said.

Under the intense rays of the hot sun, the dive team conducted a meticulous search of the lake.

"Our divers are on basically on what's called a drag bar and they hanging onto a boat that pulls them slowly and they are at the bottom and physically with their hand out dragging their hand along hoping that they'll find the individual," Bouchard said.

Over the past few weeks, rescue teams have been called out to a number of drownings across Metro Detroit, and officials say they can't stress enough about the importance of a life jacket. 

"A life jacket is literally a lifesaver. I know a lot of people feel almost childish wearing it but it's a safety vest for a lot of reasons ... it keeps you above the water ... in this situation it would have made a huge difference," Bouchard said.

UPDATE: Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said around noon Tuesday that the body has been recovered. The lake is back open for boating. 

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