Michael Bachus identified as man killed in Manistee County charter boat crash
Written by Grand Rapids Press   
Sunday, 23 May 2010 17:03
A 55-year-old retired Marine Corps sergeant died when the boat he was on sank Saturday morning near the mouth of the Manistee River Channel, according to police.

Manistee resident Michael E. Bachus was one of seven people were on board the Manistee charter boat Kid-A-Gin sometime after 4 a.m. on Saturday in the midst of thick fog when the boat crashed and sank.

Manistee City Police received a 911 call from a passenger on another charter boat saying the vessel hit the south pier.

A nearby boat picked up the passengers and two people were taken to West Shore Hospital for treatment of injuries including hypothermia.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Shannon Rootz said dense fog in the area when the crash occurred is the likely accident's cause.

Rootz estimated visibility that morning to be "100 feet at the most."

boat bachus.jpgCourtesy, Bachus familyMichael BachusRootz said the Coast Guard has no set guidelines for when to stay docked if there is fog or other acclimate weather conditions.

"It's really up to the experience of the boater," Rootz said.

Nancy Bachus, the wife of the crash victim, said her husband, a Wayne County native who spent 25 years in the Marines and then retired last month from the Michigan Department of Corrections, spent his spare time helping Kid-A-Gin Captain Dave Gramza with charters to Lake Michigan from the channel.

She said the father of three daughters loved to fish and liked helping out.

Bachus said she believes the design and weather conditions were responsible for the crash that killed her husband of 25 years.

"I know it had nothing to do with (Gramza), he is very cautious," Bachus said. "it was the way the area is constructed and the weather conditions."

Bachus said she has heard about a number of accidents in that channel over the years.

But now, the family prepares fro a funeral service expected at the local Methodist Church this week where people will remember the Gulf War veteran who hails from a large family, according to Bachus.

"He was a good, honest man with loads of integrity," said Bachus of her late husband. "He did a lot to help out a lot of people."
 
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