Coast Guard recovers two bodies in search of Lake Erie near South Bass Island for missing fishermen

CLEVELAND - The search has suspended for two missing fishermen in western Lake Erie on Friday. Police say they will continue the search when further developments are reported. 

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office identified two females found dead in Lake Erie after their boat went missing Wednesday night.

Amy Santus, 33, of Perrysburg, and Paige Widmer, 16, of Leesville, S.C., were found on Toussaint Reef, 5 miles northeast of Locust Point, Ohio. Both of the victims were wearing life jackets.

Coast Guard crews searched 200 square nautical miles of the lake so far.

The group's truck and boat trailer were found at the Locust Point boat ramp.

Four people — two men, one woman and a 16-year-old girl — were aboard the 21-foot boat that went missing near South Bass Island in Lake Erie.

County Sheriff Steve Levorchick said the boaters had contacted relatives on Wednesday afternoon.
"They did send pictures back to family members of themselves fishing," he said.

The two remaining missing adults are in their 30s. Their names have not been released at the families’ request.

Officials said they have no reason to believe that alcohol was a factor.

The average water temperature within the search area was about 35 to 40 degrees, the Coast Guard said. How long people can survive in water that cold depends on their weight, gender and what they were wearing.

Coast Guard crews from Station Toledo and Station Marblehead are using 25-foot and 45-foot response boats while a crew from Air Station Detroit search by air from a Dolphin helicopter. A towing crew has been cleared to tow the boat.

Check back for more information as details become available.

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