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Buffalo woman drowns in Lake Erie off Wendt Beach

A 51-year-old Buffalo woman drowned while trying to rescue her 11-year-old daughter and another child from the rough waters of Lake Erie off Wendt Beach, Evans police reported Friday morning.

The body of Mary E. Creighton was found approximately an hour after authorities received a report of two children and a parent in possible distress in the water Thursday evening.

Swimming is prohibited at Wendt Beach, which is owned by Erie County, and waves of 5 to 6 feet Thursday night appear to have contributed to the tragedy, said Evans Police Chief Ernest P. Masullo.

The report of people in distress came in shortly before 7 p.m., according to Masullo.

Upon arrival, police learned that the mother of one of the children went into the water to try to rescue them.

A 10-year-old girl made it to shore on her own, Masullo said, but the second child and the adult still were missing in the lake, approximately 100 yards from shore.

Lt. Bradley DiMartino spotted the head of someone in the water where the two were last seen. When he swam out, he found an 11-year-old girl who was in great difficulty.

DiMartino grabbed the girl and pulled her towards safety; Officer Jeffrey DeVinney also helped bring her to shore.

Creighton’s body was found by emergency personnel.

Evans police were assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Hamburg Police Department’s Water Rescue Unit, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, and firefighters from Evans Center, Lake Erie Beach, Highland, North Evans and Lake View.

Information on the girls’ conditions was not disclosed.