HOUGHTON – Michigan State Police are trying to recover the body of 43-year-old Steven Chartre of Ishpeming today from Keweenaw Bay.
Chartre and his 9-year-old son, Ethan, went fishing Sept. 17 with 61-year-old Keith Karvonen of Atlantic Mine on Karvonen’s 14-foot boat and were reported missing later that evening when they didn’t return as scheduled. While a massive, four-day search effort began that night, it turned up nothing before being suspended.
That’s when the Karvonen family hired Tom Crossman of Duluth to help. He was soon joined by a volunteer company that stepped up and eventually found the boat and bodies.
Karvonen and Ethan were recovered Saturday afternoon after Bruce’s Legacy, a volunteer rescue team, used sonar to detect the boat nearly 300 feet below the surface of the water, about four miles off the trio’s launch site at the Portage Entry in Chassell in an area known as Big Reef. The area was pinpointed by a cell phone ping from one of the men’s phones the weekend they disappeared.
While both search efforts concentrated on this area, the depth and currents complicated efforts to detect the wreckage.
The bodies were located nearby the site, but Steven Chartre was entangled, requiring more specialized equipment to recover his body.
That help arrived Monday evening, according to a spokesman from the MSP-Calumet Post, which expects to recover Steven but said the boat will probably remain where it lies.
After recovering the bodies of Karvonen and Ethan Chartre on Saturday, the searchers faced a final challenge.
“We all met the family back at the dock to brief them on the situation,” according to a synopsis of the operation posted on the Bruce’s Legacy website. “This always becomes one of the toughest moments. However, we know this is what offers families the chance to move forward in the grieving process and accommodate their family members.
“For those who haven’t physically taken part in operations like this before, it’s important you are aware the sacrifice involved.”
To see the full report on the search, visit www.bruceslegacy.com.