One killed, several rescued at problematic spot on Kenosha beach

Posted at 9:00 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 23:15:41-04

One person was killed and four others were rescued from a problematic spot on the Kenosha lakefront over the weekend. 

On Saturday, a 28-year old man and his two young children were at the beach at Pennoyer Park, in the area where the Pike River empties into Lake Michigan, according to the fire chief. 

Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig said that, at one point, a 10-year old girl began to struggle in the water. 

The girl's father jumped into the water and was able to save her.  However, he began to struggle and had to be pulled out by first responders. 

Leipzig said the man was taken to a hospital, where he eventually died. 

The chief said the area is very dangerous because the spot where the river meets the lake creates a strong current. 

"The undertow at that spot will end up pulling people under and offshore for 100 yards," Leipzig said. 

He said there was another close on Sunday, when several people had to be rescued from the same area. 

James Mallardo and his friend Alex Bee, who are both skilled surfers, were on the beach Sunday afternoon when they said they noticed two teens and two adults struggling in the water near the mouth of the river. 

Bee said they instinctively swam in to assist. 

"We just wanted to help," Bee said. 

He said the two surfers fought rip currents to drag the people back to shore. 

"There was a current and one of the kids was exhausted and didn't have much energy," Bee said. "So I was just having to pull him in." 

Mallardo said he's grateful no one was hurt. 

"At one time, I yelled, 'If you guys don't calm down and think, we're all going to drown,'" Mallardo said.

"I think the only reason we didn't drown is because we know how rip currents work," he said.

There are signs along the river warning of a dangerous current in the area. 

However, Mallardo thinks the city should put additional signage on the beach to warn swimmers and visitors about the problematic spot where the river meets the lake.