A spokesman for the Cleveland Metroparks reports that beaches were open at Huntington Reservation in Bay Village Sat., May 31 when Radke drowned.
Radke helped get an endangered 14-year old girl to safety. But he went missing in the choppy waters.
A Metroparks spokesman said beaches were open at the time of the incident “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,” reported the spokesman on June 2. Life guards were not on duty at the time of the 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.” The flags were not on display the day of Radke’s death because they are posted by lifeguards during regular lifeguard hours, said Metroparks.
On June 27, 2012, 46-year old Laura Recco, a teacher, also died after being pulled from choppy waters along with two young student survivors of Cleveland’s Positive Education Program at Huntington Beach. They reportedly entered the water before 11 a.m. when lifeguards go on duty.
Rip-current casualties are not unusual along the Lake Erie shore.
In Avon Lake, strong currents at Miller Road Beach prompted officials to boost warning sign visibility there after a death by drowning in August, 2012. It was reported to be the 8th drowning death in 15 years at the park.
“I am at a loss as to why it took this long,” attributed Cleveland.com to an Avon Lake official when beach warning signs were beefed up after that tragedy. “My plea was to make people aware of the danger before they ever stepped foot in the water.” Miller Road Park differs from Huntington in that the adjacent GenOn plant discharge creates a deep current and underwater drop off.
But rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes, reports the National Weather Service. Rip currents are more common along jetties or piers like those at Huntington Beach.