The chief of the White Lake Fire Authority says he tried to swim out and save a fisherman struggling in Lake Michigan.

But Chief Gregory Holman says the water was so cold he had to turn back to shore.

“It is upsetting,” he says. “I tried to rescue him and it didn’t work out. It is pretty emotional in that you attempt to save somebody and you are not successful at it.”

A sonar boat, Coast Guard helicopters and Muskegon County divers searched all afternoon and evening Wednesday, but were unable to find the missing man.

He was apparently fishing from a boat when he went overboard near the Michillinda Lodge about 300 yards off shore.

He was still afloat when the first rescue squad arrived.

“I just saw the head,” recalls Chief Holman. “It was the potential to save somebody so I made a decision to get in the water and save him. The conditions were too cold and I had to retreat. We continued our efforts from shore. “

Crews are expected to continue searching Thursday morning.

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