Search of Kalamazoo River near Otsego and Plainwell continues for missing man

By: 
Ryan Lewis

UPDATE: Baird's body was found April 24.

High, rapid water has made the river both dangerous for recreational boaters and difficult to search by law enforcement trying to locate the body of a Colorado man who is feared drowned.

The search began April 7 for Michael Joseph Baird, 34, last seen April 6 when he went for a walk in downtown Plainwell around 8 p.m., according to family members.

Rescue crews spotted someone in the river and threw lifelines to him twice, but the person was unable to grab hold the first time and didn’t respond the second time.

Sgt. Todd Wagner heads the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office dive team and reports that the department suspended searches over that weekend due to weather.

Wagner said the conditions on the river at the time were close to the worst possible for divers and that he’d been in contact with Baird’s family about the search.

The dive team has been out searching the river periodically between Otsego and Plainwell ever since. Air searches by the Michigan State Police were tried, as well as searching from land and from boats.

They were out again on Tuesday, April 18, searching by boat in the area at the end of 12th Street near the former Plainwell Dam where the man believed to be Baird was last seen by rescue crews.

 

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