Search continues for Bryce Dunfee who fell into Lake Michigan

LAKE MICHIGAN – The search continues today for a missing person who fell into Lake Michigan.

The person has been identified as Bryce Dunfee, 22, of Indianapolis. Dunfee was last seen on Monday wearing a gray shirt with black sleeves, khaki pants, and black shoes.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. CST, rescue crews were dispatched to West Beach at Indiana Dunes National Park in reference to a person in the water. 

Once on scene, responders learned that five people had entered onto shelf ice along the shoreline when it began to crack.  The group began to retreat to shore when Dunfee fell into the water.

Members of the party attempted to reach their friend, but the large waves and unstable ice hindered their efforts.   

Indiana Conservation Officers along with Portage Fire department, Porter Fire department, Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Ogden Dunes Fire department, Indiana Dunes National Park Rangers, and United State Coast Guard all responded to the scene and are currently searching.

Indiana Conservation Officers urge the public to stay off-shelf ice along Lake Michigan as it can be unpredictable and extremely dangerous.

Shelf ice on Lake Michigan

But as beautiful as shelf ice is, it can also be very dangerous. Shelf ice usually occurs on the east and south shores of Lake Michigan and is the result of winds and waves pushing ice against the beach. Hills and mounds can be created, making it very hard for some people to resist walking over them. 

Shelf ice on Lake Michigan

However, it’s very important to stay off of the lake. Though it looks frozen, it is not. There are many pockets that can shift and move or aren’t frozen at all, and with one step, you can be deep into a very, very cold lake.