Man dies of apparent drowning in Hart Lake

September 6, 2023

Hart Lake
– OCP file photo

Man dies of apparent drowning in Hart Lake

HART — A 72-year-old Hart man died from an apparent drowning in Hart Lake last week, said Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast.

Gary Dean’s body was recovered from the water Wednesday, Aug. 30, after a 16-foot Spectrum pontoon boat was found adrift in the east end of the lake. 

A marine deputy and patrol deputy were dispatched to the scene around 2 p.m. “Deputies found the boat had blown into a very weedy section of the lake,” said Sheriff Mast. “Deputies found several personal items in the boat, which had a canvas awning and cabin. It appeared someone was camping on the boat for a short time. It was currently unoccupied.”

The deputies ran the boat’s registration and recovered personal items and then contacted family members “who were confident the owner should be with the boat. Deputies checked the area and found the 72-year-old owner floating in the waters on the south side of the east end of the lake — on the east side of the Oceana Drive bridge.”

Sheriff Mast was called to the scene, and he and the deputies recovered Dean’s body at the John Gurney Park boat launch. 

“We believe Mr. Dean may have been in the water for at least a day. It’s a very unfortunate situation and we are keeping the family in our thoughts.”

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