Kayakers’ bodies pulled from Battle Creek-area lake

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

EMMETT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The bodies of a couple who went kayaking and never returned home were recovered from a lake southeast of Battle Creek Wednesday.

They were identified as 25-year-old Morgan Smith, who lived at a home on the lake, and 32-year-old Timothy Geibig of Battle Creek.

Family members of one of the kayakers did not want to speak on camera but called the deaths a terrible tragedy.

The Emmett Township Department of Public Safety says the couple went kayaking on Beadle Lake around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. The father of one of them began to search with a friend around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday when they could not be found.

“The father noticed that the kayaks weren’t back yet so they went out looking and then they went out on their pontoon combing the lake,” Acting DPS Director Kenneth Cunningham said.

Both bodies were found on the east side of the lake: first Smith’s and then Geibig’s.

Beadle Lake fire rescue cruiser parked at Beadle Lake boat launch
Authorities recover two bodies from Beadle Lake in Emmett Township Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

Police found one of the kayaks. A drone was brought in to search for the second one, but it wasn’t found.

Investigators are still looking into what happened on the water. They don’t yet know if alcohol was a factor. They say neither Smith nor Geibig was wearing a life vest.

They are asking anyone who was on the lake Tuesday night or may have found the missing boat, which is bright green, to call them at 269.968.9303 or Silent Observer at 269.964.3888.

Julie Gunning and her family own the only boat launch on the lake and gave a rescue crew access around 7:30 a.m.

“It’s a really sad story. When we heard about it, we just couldn’t believe it because nothing like that has every happened around here,” Gunning said.

Laurie Ryan has had a summer home on the lake for 29 years and said the whole community was saddened by the loss.

“I wished they’d been wearing life jackets so maybe we would have been able to prevent this,” Ryan said.

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