West Bend man lost on Lake Michigan off Port while kayaking with his brother Wednesday
The search for a kayaker lost Wednesday in gale-force winds on Lake Michigan off Port Washington’s south beach was called off Thursday morning.
The Coast Guard suspended its efforts at 8:21 a.m. after searching throughout the night for 27-year-old Marcus Beilman of West Bend.
The Port Washington Fire Department suspended its search for Beilman at about 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The fire department began its search about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after a bicyclist saw Kevin Beilman, 24, come out of the lake at south beach.
Kevin Beilman told police that he and his brother Marcus launched their kayaks from south beach about 3:30 p.m., Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said.
Lake conditions were rough at the time the brothers went out, Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said. The water was about 40 degrees at the time, and the conditions were rough, with sustained winds of 35 to 40 mph gusting to 50 mph.
However, he noted that the lake looked deceiving in the area where the brothers launched their kayak.
Kevin Beilman said his kayak overturned a short time later, and that while he was in the water he saw his brother’s vessel overturn as well, Mitchell said. He then lost sight of both his brother and his brother’s kayak.
“He (Kevin) said they weren’t out that long when they tipped over,” Mitchell said. “He figured he was in the water for 15 to 20 minutes.”
He said he and his brother were never out past Coal Dock Park, Mitchell said.
It’s not known whether Marcus Beilman had a life vest on at the time, officials said. Kevin Beilman had one on when he reached shore, Hingiss said, but was unsure if his brother was wearing one.