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Search Shifts To Recovery Effort For Bryce Dunfee, 22, Who Fell Through Ice Shelf At Indiana Dunes National Park

PORTAGE, Ind. (CBS) -- Crews will continue a recovery effort Wednesday morning after a man fell off an ice shelf at Indiana Dunes National Park and ended up in Lake Michigan Monday night.

It's been more than 36 hours since 22-year-old Bryce Dunfee was last seen. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt with black sleeves, khaki pants and black shoes.

Officials said due to the high wind and wave conditions Wednesday there will not be a search by boat. The search will continue along the shoreline.

At 5:30 p.m., first responders were called to West Beach at the national park after learning that five people had gotten onto shelf ice along the shoreline – only for the ice to track. The group retreated to shore, except for one person who fell in the water, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The others tried to reach their friend, but large waves and unstable ice undermined that effort.

Indiana Dunes Search
(Credit: Julie Olsted)

The search for the missing person continued Monday night. Indiana conservation officers, along with fire crews from Portage, Porter, and Ogden Dunes; the Lake County, Indiana Sheriff's Department; Indiana Dunes National Park Rangers; and the U.S. Coast Guard were all involved.

"A pretty chaotic rescue scene, but it's a very difficult rescue scene in terms of the wave action and the ice. I mean even now, there's ice chunks in the water that are very large, that are floating around and getting battered by the waves," said Indiana Conservation Officer Nicole Baumann.

The waves in the area amounted to 3 to 5 feet Monday night.

Conservation officers reminded people that ice shelves are dangerous and everyone should stay off of them.

Just a day before the incident, the Ogden Dunes Fire Department warned visitors to avoid the shelf ice along Lake Michigan.

Please do not venture out on to the shelf ice along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Here are some photos of very dangerous...

Posted by Ogden Dunes Fire Department on Sunday, February 20, 2022


The warning was posted on Facebook and included photos of visitors venturing out to the shelf ice.


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