Rip Current Drowns Young Boy Collecting Seashells

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On June 7, 2024, 11-year-old Hunter Ebie tragically drowned in Lake Erie after being swept away by a powerful wave at Conneaut Township Park in Conneaut, Ohio.

The young boy was wading in shallow water collecting shells when a freak wave caught hold of him. He became entangled in a riptide, which pulled him into deeper waters. His mother, Diana Ebie, tried to rescue him but was also caught in the riptide. A nearby firefighter managed to save Diana but could not reach Hunter in time.

The search for Hunter’s body lasted two days, involving rescue teams using helicopters, drones, divers, and boats. Hunter’s stepfather, Sam Chambers, stayed on the beach daily, hoping for his son’s safe return. Hunter’s body was eventually found on June 11.

During the search, the Conneaut community supported the family by offering accommodation, meals, and warm clothes. “Someone generously donated a place for the family to stay, and an amazing restaurant owner made sure they had a beautiful hot meal,” a resident shared. A local pastor and counselor also supported the family emotionally during this difficult time.

Hunter’s classmates at Schrop Intermediate School and teammates from the Spartans Football team held a vigil at Springfield Lake to honor him. “We’ve lost a bright kid. He was very fun-loving, energetic, and kind,” said Dustin Halterman, president of the Spartan Youth Football and Cheer League.

A benefit dinner was planned for June 17 at Uncle Tito’s Mexican Grill in Springfield Township, where 33% of sales would be donated to Hunter’s family. Additionally, the community has set up a GoFundMe page, which has already raised over $16,000 to cover funeral expenses The Ebies expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support, stating, “Words cannot express our loss. He was a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, and just an overall caring and loving kid.” The family also plans to launch “The Hunter Project” to raise awareness of water safety and prevent similar tragedies.

Hunter’s tragic death has prompted calls for increased safety measures at Conneaut Township Park. During a Conneaut City Council meeting, members discussed potential improvements such as installing lifeguards, warning signage, and stricter monitoring of lake conditions to prevent future incidents.

A warning had been issued by the National Weather Service on June 7 about the danger of riptides caused by high winds and waves, but the Ebie family was not aware of this.

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