BAY VILLAGE, Ohio – The girl who survived a near-drowning at Cleveland Metroparks Huntington Beach on Saturday afternoon has been identified as Angel Rodgers, 16, from Stockbridge, Georgia.
According to authorities, Rodgers was swimming in Lake Erie when she found herself in need of help.
Peter Radke, 43, a husband a father of four from Medina, died after he jumped in the lake to assist the girl and was unable to swim back to shore.
“He was just a wonderful person first. He had a great demeanor. He was very cheerful, very gracious and also very, very humble,” said Keith Busch, Radke’s co-worker.
Radke worked at Hitchcock Fleming and Associates in Akron where his colleagues described him as a family man who loved life and had a strong personal faith.
“He was a great guy. He was so down to Earth. He was very grounded in who he was, his beliefs, his faith,” said fellow co-worker, Shirley Shriver.
Radke was at Huntington Beach on Saturday for a birthday party with three of his kids.
Emergency personnel from several different agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, were on the scene within minutes and beach-goers also lined up to help rescue both Radke and Rodgers.
Thanks to the help from Radke in the water, Angel Rodgers made it to shore but he went underwater and was found dead on Saturday night.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the Radke family,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman, who spoke about the tragedy on Monday during a water safety event in Cleveland.
“Certainly when you look at the vastness of Lake Erie in particular, or you look at any swimming area, or you look at your bathtub - anytime you’re working with water, we all need to be very aware of what is going on in our surroundings,” said Zimmerman.
Unlike Edgewater in Cleveland which already has lifeguards on duty by Memorial Day, they don’t start patrolling Huntington Beach until the first Saturday in June, so beach-goers were swimming at their own risk this past weekend.
On Monday, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said it could take a few days to determine a cause of death.
“I know his wife, Michelle. I met one of his daughters when he brought her in for a tour of the agency. He was so proud of his family. He was very much a family man,” said Shirley Shriver.
Radke’s family and friends also created a website for donations, with family photos and memories of a man who was loved by many.
CLICK HERE for more.