WILLARD - A 16-year-old Willard boy drowned late Monday afternoon while swimming with friends at the main beach of Holiday Lakes.
A girl who is a lifeguard at the Willard City Pool noticed Cody Osborne, of 413 Maplewood Ave., was struggling in the water, Huron County Sheriff's Major Greg Englund said.
Dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call at 4:26 p.m. and notified the Willard Fire Department and its rescue team.
Witnesses didn't know if Osborne was joking, but the girl "could tell he was in distress," Englund said.
The girl immediately dove in, but the boy had gone under by the time she reached him.
"She dove down several times, trying to locate him," Englund continued. Other witnesses helped the girl and found Osborne at one point, but he was too heavy to pull out of the water, he said.
"We have statements from about a dozen people," Englund added. "All the people did whatever they could. The girl said they were tired and exhausted ... from trying to get him."
Four of the 15 Willard firefighters who arrived were part of the dive team.
Assistant Fire Chief Joe Reiderman said an off-duty firefighter was one of the bystanders who attempted to rescue Cody. He was unsure of the time frame of the group's rescue effort.
"I'm sure it seemed like forever to him," Reiderman said.
A diver quickly found Cody, thanks in part to the information provided by the witnesses.
"They had him out in three minutes," Reiderman said, and authorities performed advanced life support "all the way to the hospital."
The victim was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital of Willard between 5:20 and 5:25 p.m.
The incident happened near the lodge, which is off Niver Road. The 220-acre lake meanders through the Holiday Lakes complex. Englund estimated Cody was in water that was 8 to 10 feet deep.
"There's a report he was not a very good swimmer," he added. "It's a shame."
Holiday Lakes General Manager Richard Kime declined to be interviewed until he got the sheriff's report.
Reiderman said the people who attempted to rescue Cody and gave firefighters his location did a "heroic job" and went "above and beyond" the call of duty.