Manistee Boat Accident: a lesson in folly

The folly of men is fortunately balanced by their will to survive.  Unfortunately, some circumstances are too grave for survival. In the Manistee boat fishing accident of last week, four fishermen decided to take the risk of bouncing in rough waters in a 20 foot boat— all the while, not wearing life jackets.

Ojan Aryanfard and three other men were cast into the lake when their 20-foot boat capsized about 5 p.m. Monday a few miles north and west of Manistee, a popular salmon fishing port. Aryanfard lost contact with the boat almost immediately after it overturned, authorities said. His three fellow anglers grabbed life vests and clung to the overturned craft among strong southerly winds and waves estimated at between 3 and 6 feet. Lake Michigan’s surface temperature near Manistee was in the low 60s. Winds were gusting at 25 miles per hour creating white caps on the lake.

One of the men made it to shore and called the Coast Guard Who found the other two survivors. Authorities recovered the body of Ojan Aryanfard, 33, of Casco Township, in about 6 feet of water near Arcadia in northern Manistee County Tuesday evening.

Manistee Harbor Master David Bachman said many boaters recently avoided the rough waters. “We’ve had boaters that stayed in Manistee for several days,” he said. “The lake’s been bouncing out there.”

It’s comforting to know that most of us take necessary precautions. We value life, with a deep understanding that our demise is tragic to those who survive us.

“He is devastated about losing a friend,” said one survivor’s wife who described her husband as suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion. “It was (12) hours treading water and being beaten by waves.”

It can’t be stressed enough that during fishing season, it is best to enjoy the sport in calm waters, wearing life jackets.

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