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DNR Conservation Officer Saves Drowning Swimmer

A DNR Conservation Officer is credited with saving a drowning swimmer in Lake Superior.

Mark Zitnik believes he was just doing his job, despite the fact he was off-duty, when he jumped off his boat, to help a swimmer who was in trouble. 

Zitnik and his family were on their boat, on Munising Bay, this past Sunday afternoon, when Zitnik heard someone yelling for help.

He went into search and rescue mode and located two swimmers, approximately 200 yards away, struggling in the water.

The swimmers started off wading in shallow water, but got swept out in a strong current.

Zitnik jumped into the water when he was about 15 yards away from the swimmers, and went to the one who was struggling the most.

Zitnik used a hold he learned from the Michigan Conservation Officer Academy water training and got the man back to his boat.

A second boat had arrived and helped the other swimmer.

Both swimmers were taken back to shore, and reunited with their families.

DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler said “A conservation officer is never truly off-duty. Without hesitating, he risked his life, while with his own family to save these two men.”

Hagler also recommended asking locals about water conditions if you’re not used to them, and always wearing a life jacket, when in the water.

Tips for boating safety are here and here

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