Body recovered of man who went missing in Lake Erie
Published Wednesday, March 25, 2020 2:31PM EDT Last Updated Friday, March 27, 2020 6:21PM EDT
PORT DOVER -- The Ontario Provincial Police have confirmed the body of a missing fisherman has been recovered in Lake Erie.
Officials confirm a distress call came in Monday morning after the 50-year-old Michael Smith of Port Dover fell overboard roughly 12 kilometres off shore of Long Point.
His body was found in the same area around 3 p.m. by the OPP's underwater search and rescue unit.
"Just full of heart," said cousin Wayne Wilson. "He was just 100 per cent full of heart.
"There's nothing he would not do for anyone in this town."
A Facebook post from a woman named Sherry Smith says the fisherman is her husband.
“We are in shock. We have been told he is lost in the lake,” the post reads. “I have just suddenly lost the love of my life, my husband, my partner, and my best friend.
“Our kids have lost their father, protector, and role model.”
The search for Smith began on Tuesday, with the OPP using methods in the water and in the sky.
“I believe there was a bit of time-lapse before they realized this individual was missing off the vessel,” said Const. Ed Sanchuck of the OPP.
“When they couldn’t locate him two other vessels came in to search, they contacted JRCC, who contacted Norfolk County OPP, and we contacted our marine unit.”
Family of Smith tell CTV Kitchener that he is a distant relative of Alex Ottley: the nine-year-old whose body was recovered Tuesday more than a month after he was swept out into Lake Erie.
"We got one home," said Wilson. "We need another one home."
Flowers and tea lights have since been placed in front of a fisherman memorial: dedicated to those who lost their lives while working on Lake Erie.
"He loved loved loved his job on the lake," said cousin Kim Hammond.
A note at the memorial reads, "a family lost a man on this lake this week. Asking passerby's to throw a flower in the water in his honour."