Pelion girl dies in boating mishap on Lake Erie

Columbia - The StateApril 17, 2014 

Bill Staiger (second from right) of the Ohio Division of Watercraft said the investigation into what happened has just begun.

A 16-year-old Pelion High junior was killed in a Lake Erie boating accident on Wednesday, authorities said.

The Ottawa County, Ohio, Sheriff's Department confirmed that the body of Paige Weidmer, of Pelion, was found in Lake Erie Thursday. The girl was on spring break in Ohio, where her father lives.

The search for Weidmer, her aunt Amy Santus, and two other people, was launched early Thursday after the group failed to return to the Marina following a fishing trip on Wednesday, Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick said. Their empty flat-bottomed fishing boat was found Thursday on a rocky shoal after apparently having overturned.

The US Coast Guard, which is overseeing the search for the anglers, announced Thursday that the bodies of two women, since identified as Weidmer and her aunt, Amy Santus, 33, were recovered. Both were wearing life vests., the sheriff said. The search for two men who were fishing with the women had been suspended at 5 p.m. the sheriff’s department said. It would resume Friday morning.

An investigation into what happened has just begun, Bill Staiger, with the Ohio Division of Watercraft said.

News that Weidmer was missing on Lake Erie spread fast and a prayer vigil was held at Pelion High School at noon Thursday.

-- Rachael Myers Lowe


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