Body of man lost in lake off Belgium found in Door County

Swimmer’s remains recovered 13 days later, 100 miles away from Harrington Beach Park
By 
BILL SCHANEN IV
Ozaukee Press staff

The body of a man who went missing 13 days earlier while swimming in rough Lake Michigan conditions off Harrington Beach State Park in the Town of Belgium was found Sunday, Sept. 2, more than 100 miles away off Whitefish Dunes State Park on the east shore of Door County, according to the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

    At 7:54 a.m. Sunday, two people jogging in the Door County state park spotted a body floating near shore. Dental records, clothing and jewelry were used to identify the body as that of Ahmad Z. Adl, 34, of Franklin, Lt. Marshall Hermann said. 

An autopsy was conducted Monday by the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office, and while a final cause of death is pending the results of toxicology tests, Hermann said, “We have no reason to believe this was anything else other than an accidental drowning.”

Adl was camping at Harrington Beach State Park with four other people, including his fiancee Paige C. Berndt, 32, of Milwaukee, who also drowned while swimming in off the shore of the Town of Belgium park on Monday, Aug. 20. 

Berndt, who worked as the general manager of Water Street Brewery in Grafton, was found just after 1 p.m. by a man walking his dogs. She was taken by ambulance to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, but efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

The group of friends entered the lake from the park and either walked or swam to a sandbar, Hermann said. The three survivors, who are in their 30s and from the Milwaukee area, told authorities that when the lake became rough, they were separated and attempted to make it back to shore on their own, he said. They were uninjured.

The National Weather Service had posted warnings of strong shoreline currents from Harrington Beach south to Kenosha for Aug. 20, and east winds that increased during the day, then shifted to the north created rough Lake Michigan conditions.

“People don’t understand the power of this lake and these currents,” Hermann said.

The 911 call authorities received at 1:10 p.m. Aug. 20 from the man walking his dog sparked a rescue effort that included boats from multiple agencies, U.S. Coast Guard and Flight for Life helicopters, officers who combed the shoreline and dive teams from three Ozaukee County fire departments.

The search for Adl was suspended Monday evening, Aug. 20, because of darkness and weather conditions but resumed Tuesday, Aug. 21, although worsening lake conditions prevented the use of boats to search near shore.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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