‘Strictly a recovery’ effort on Asylum Lake

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities Sunday continued to scour a Kalamazoo County lake, looking for a man believed to have fallen through the ice.

Authorities say Takashi Sugimori, 56, of Kalamazoo went to Asylum Lake Thursday morning to go cross-country skiing, which he did often. His wife called police around 10 a.m. when he didn’t come home. Officers found his car in a parking area for the lake off Parkview Drive. There were tracks leading onto the ice.

“Any thought of search is long gone,” Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday. “This is strictly a recovery.”

Searching the lake has been a challenge, authorities say. There has been too much shifting ice on the lake for a dive team to go in.

“There’s no way that we will be able to put divers in,” Maytas said Sunday. “You just don’t put divers into a lake like this. And this ice shelf is shifting all the time.”

Sunday, crews in searched in boats equipped with cameras and sonar. Others chipped away at the ice, hoping to find some indication of Sugimori.

Authorities are reminding residents to be extremely careful around icy bodies of water.

“It’s something we say every year. It’s something the DNR says every year: When that ice is melting, don’t go out. Just plain don’t go out,”Matyas said. “This is what happens when you do.”

That ice continues to be the biggest challenge in the recovery effort. Authorities say it could be a couple of weeks before the ice melts enough for them to find Sugimori.

Aerial searches of the area surrounding the lake have been conducted, but authorities say they will not continue those because they have — for now, at least — ruled out the possibility that Sugimori is on land.

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