Chicago man drowns after swimming in Sand Bay Park

Posted at 11:18 AM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-21 17:25:17-04

UPDATE: The Door County Sheriff’s Office has identified the drowning victim as 36 year old Jose Ortiz of Chicago.

Ortiz was swimming off of Sand Bay Park in Liberty Grove on Saturday when he did not surface after swimming from a sand bar.


PREVIOUS: The Door County Sheriff's Office is reporting a drowning that happened over the weekend at Sand Bay Park. 

The Sheriff's Office says it was first notified of a missing swimmer at 4:42 p.m. on Saturday at Sand Bay Park, located at 11154 Sand Bay Ln. Sister Bay.

The Sheriff's Office says the victim was swimming off the sand bar with friends about 125 feet from shore when he went under.

Several people at the beach searched for him and eventually found him in about 20 feet of water. He was brought to the beach where CPR was started. Emergency responders arrived and took over life saving measures. 

The man was taken to DCMC and eventually transported to St. Vincent hospital via helicopter. The following day, the Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Brown County Medical Examiner that the victim had died.

The Sheriff's Office says the victim was a 36-year-old man from Chicago. Authorities are not releasing his name until his family has been notified.

Neighbors who have spent their summers along the shores for decades say something like this has never happened before.

"There's never been undertows or anything, and it's so shallow that people are usually pretty safe," neighbor Tom Wismar said. "There are sand bars. So you can go out to your knees, then go down a little deeper, then come up again."

Neighbors also say the beach is normally busy on weekends in summer. They say it's sad to see something like this happen.

"I felt horrible that, I wish we could have been here," Tonya Schneider-Wismar said. "Maybe we could have made a difference had we been out in the water there."