Too soon to swim? Experts warn beachgoers after man drowns

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BAY VILLAGE, Ohio -- The waters of Lake Erie at Huntington Beach in Bay Village can be so inviting. And, the waters can turn so deadly.

On Saturday, a man went into the water to help a troubled swimmer. While he was able to push the young lady to safety, for some reason, he was not able to return to shore himself.

The body of Peter Radke, 43, of Medina, was pulled from the water several hours later.

"It's great that we have that kind of people out there who are willing to risk their lives to help other people in distress. But, it is tragic that he ended up losing his life in the process,” Samantha Obrock said while at the beach with her children.

The tragedy has some wondering if it's too soon to be swimming in Lake Erie.

"We don't come into the water this time of year. It's just too cold and you don't know what you're being overcome by," Duane McKenzie, of Lorain, said.

While there were many people at Huntington Beach Sunday, it is not scheduled to be officially open until the lifeguards are on duty starting this Saturday.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Rashad Lockhart was part of the recovery effort. He saw how quickly the conditions on the water changed Saturday.

"The seas were low, probably, one or two feet. And, all in a matter of an hour or so, you got seven-foot swells coming through, you know, breaking on the beach," he said.

Even a strong swimmer is not advised to try to rescue someone from the water alone. And, having a life ring could literally be a lifesaver.

"Somebody had a life ring, throw it into the water to the person and they have something to grab onto that will keep them above the water,” said Lockhart.

Cleveland MetroParks rangers and detectives are still investigating to determine what exactly happened that Radke could not get back to shore safely.

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