Don’t Forget Me: Tyler Spink-Age 21-Missing near Platte Bay, Lake Michigan-Last seen September 5, 2016~
While this story is the first written on this site, it is not the last. This story is not the first of its kind, it is just one of many that I hope you read about, that you try to understand and one in which you decide you can make a difference~
Tyler Spink was not your ordinary young man, you see, he was extraordinary in the fact that while he was fighting for his own life, he was trying to save the life of his friend as well.
Tyler has been missing since September 5, 2016. His family and friends have been waiting since that day to bring him home, to put him to rest, to have a place in which they can grieve. Tyler’s last day began as many others, spending time with someone whom he loved, never imagining that he would not be coming home.
Tyler’s last day:
Tyler and a friend stopped at Riverside to put their kayaks into the Platte River. This trip takes about an hour and a half to two hours to complete down the river. It was a beautiful day! They begin their trip around 12:30 that afternoon. That puts them at the end of the river around 2:30 pm. When they reached the end, they stopped across the river at a little dunes area and explored the island. They got back into their kayaks and crossed the river once again to the Lake Township Park in Honor, Michigan, where people load up.
He hung out at the park for hours with his friend and a few other friends that they met with while on their kayak trip. At some point, the boys asked a stranger if they could get a ride back to Riverside to pick up Tyler's car. After that, they loaded up their kayaks and planned on heading home, by this time it is around 6:30 pm. You can be sure that after spending so much time at the park and looking at the bay from where they were standing everything looked so innocent. Many have witnessed it on this lake and other bodies of water as well, water is your friend one minute and your foe the next….you never know which is more powerful. On this day, the boys made a decision that had consequences that they never could have imagined. There are no warnings such as flags, signage or anything giving any knowledge of the dangers or distance of that bay in this very busy National Park, and at that age, these boys would have assumed if the waters were dangerous, then something would let them know, a flag, a sign, anything! Tyler had only kayaked on rivers before, he would have NEVER looked out at that lake if there were big waves and thought "let's go out there, that looks like fun." The decision to unload those kayaks and go back out onto that bay was made purely for clean, innocent fun on a beautiful, calm day.
At this time it was about 6:30-6:45 pm. Josh said they had been out in the lake for about 30 minutes when Tyler’s kayak flips. Tyler had his flotation seat and was close to his kayak and then Josh tries to turn around to help him and he flips. By this time, Tyler is already trying to call 911, but he has no signal. Both boys had their flotation cushion and made the critical decision to abandon the kayaks and swim to shore using their flotation cushions. The kayaks would have been more helpful as a flotation device as they are bigger and easier to see in the water. Plus, kayaks will be somewhat submerged in water but not sink. They both swam touching base with each other every few minutes to make sure each other was doing ok. Josh explained at one point that if it wasn't for Tyler, he would have not made it. Tyler kept calm and kept repeating to Josh, "we got this bud, we got it.” After approximately 30 mins of swimming, Josh could no longer hear Tyler. Josh swam for about 30 minutes longer, screaming for help and looking at shore because it was still light enough to see land. At about 8:40 pm, Josh gets rescued by a fisherman. It is believed that Tyler drowned about 8:00-8:15 pm that night. USCG was able to respond that night very quickly and with all their amazing technology, if Tyler would have been out there, alive, he should have been found.
Since that day, his locale has been narrowed somewhat with GPS from his phone and items that washed up, but the family has been trying to get K9 dogs and Tow Fish Sonars out to ensure that the area is 100% clear and while it may take multiple searches to bring this family closure, what would you want if you was in their shoes….how far would you go to bring your son, brother, nephew, cousin, or friend home?
Tyler is still at the bottom of that bay and needs to be brought home! The depths of that bay are around 200 ft. With depths reaching that deep, he most likely will not surface and in saying that, know that as long as he is in that bay, his family will not give up.
Tyler was dearly loved and is dearly missed, everyone deserves to be able to bring home their loved one, to give them their final resting place so that a family can have a place in which they can visit. As for as his family, every time they leave that lake, they feel like they are leaving Tyler there, they need to bring him home, it is not a want, it is a need that surpasses even the basic of needs. If you could choose to eat or search that lake, you will search, if you could choose to sleep or search that lake, you search, and you don’t stop and you don’t ever give up.