MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Crews on Wednesday resumed their search of Lake Michigan for a man who fell through the ice at Pere Marquette Park the previous day.
Loved ones identified him as Ramal Roby, 31, of Muskegon.
“Never in a million years would (I) think it would be one of my family members,” Joy Allen, Roby’s cousin, told News 8.
Searchers carrying long gaff poles scoured the shallow water for hours. They called in a dog and put in a drone in the sky, looking for any sign of Roby. Despite unfavorable conditions and working against the clock as a snow system as expected to move in, authorities said they would keep at it as long as possible.
Roby was with his fiancee around 8 p.m Tuesday, watching the waves, when he walked out onto the ice to get a better view and then went into the water.
“The fact that he didn’t come back and I was calling his name … it scared me,” Breanna Taylor, his fiancee, told News 8. “I just want him to come home.”
Authorities called boats and a helicopter to look for Roby until about 10 p.m., at which point they had to call off the search as bad weather churned up the lake. They said the mission had shifted from a rescue attempt to a recovery effort.
Roby’s loved ones said they were concerned authorities waited too long Wednesday to pick the search back up. They stood on the beach, looking out at the water.
“We’re out here because we want him back,” cousin Joy Allen said. “This is hard. This is hard on the whole family. He’s out there and it hurts ’cause he deserves to be back with us. And we want him back.”
They recalled Roby as outgoing, always the life of the part, and devoted to his family.