A spokesman for the Cleveland Metroparks reports that beaches were open at Huntington Reservation in Bay Village Sat., May 31 when Peter Radke, 42, of Medina drowned while saving an imperiled swimmer.
Radke helped get the endangered 14-year old girl to safety. But he went missing in the choppy waters.
Despite a massive search by area emergency squads and the Coast Guard (including a helicopter). Radke was discovered deceased in shallow water at about 9 p.m., about three hours after saving the girl.
“He died a hero’s death,” said Bay Village Fire Chief Christopher Lyons.
“We are saddened by the incident that occurred last Saturday evening at Huntington Beach and send our thoughts and prayers to the family of Peter Radke. Huntington Beach has long been a destination for families to gather in our community and nothing is more important to us than the safety of our visitors,” said Cleveland Metroparks in a release. “Our commissioned Metroparks Ranger Department and Detectives Unit are in the process of investigating to determine exactly what happened. Once again, our sympathies go out to the Radke family.”
The spokesman said beaches are open. “The parks and the beaches are open. Our regular beach season schedule calls for lifeguards to begin duty at Huntington Beach on June 7 daily through August 10, then weekends only through Labor Day. Signs at the beaches indicate the lifeguard schedules,” reports the Metroparks spokesman.
Life guards were not on duty at the time of Saturday’s incident and lifeguard stations had not yet been posted for the season.
A sign at the top of the main Huntington Beach access stair states, ““No swimming when red beach flags are posted due to weather/safety conditions.” It is not known if these flags were posted Saturday. (Update 6-3-14: “Flags are posted by lifeguards during regular lifeguard hours,” report Metroparks).
Radke leaves a wife, Michelle, and four children – two boys and two girls. He lived in Medina and was employed as an interactive media specialist at Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc. marketing firm in Akron. The family lives in Medina and attends Grace Church in Bath, Ohio.
Mr. Radke’s family issued a statement: Words cannot express the profound sorrow we feel over the death of our beloved Pete. He was dedicated to serving God and anyone in need. While we never expected to lose him so soon, we take comfort in knowing Pete’s final moments were spent saving the life of another. Peter Todd Radke, devoted husband and father of four, would have had it no other way.
A fund has been established to assist the family: http://www.gofundme.com/9ri7rs