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Family: Friend tried to save girl after being swept into water

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jan 03, 2020

Crews continued their search Friday morning for a 16-year-old girl who was swept off the pier earlier this week into Lake Michigan.

Eliza Trainer went to the pier with her close friend Kade Goodrich, 18, Wednesday night to walk along to shore, which was when they were both pulled into the water by high waves. A family member of Kade said they held onto each other for several minutes while trying to make their way back to the pier.

Kade was able to get on a rock while still holding Eliza’s hand, but while he was trying to pull her up another wave came and took her from his grip. Family says he tried to find her, but she was quickly swept away.

FOX 17 spoke to Kade's Grandma, Linda Woods, Friday at Holland State park where crews continued their recovery efforts. “Right now he needs a lot of prayer because of the emotions evolved in seeing her go under... I haven’t really talked to him. I just went over there and kind of patted him on the head, looked at all the bruises he had,” Woods said.

After Eliza was pulled into Lake Michigan, Kade got to shore and ran to get help. Rescue teams have been working to find her since, but have been unsuccessful as the weather has been too severe for crews to use most of their usual tactics.

According to Linda Woods, Eliza was extremely close to the Goodrich family, saying, "Her mom had passed away several years ago and we more or less adopted her into our family.”

Eliza was a junior at Flushing High School who hoped to become a diesel mechanic after graduation. Superintendent of Flushing Community Schools, Timothy Stein, posted a message on the district's Facebook page Friday afternoon, saying she would be missed by staff and students alike.

FOX 17 spoke to Todd King, one of Eliza's English teachers, Friday who said she was an enthusiastic reader with a great sense of humor. "A great smile, a great personality. I’m just feeling a loss for our school, her friends, her family. It's really a loss for the world and the world needs more smiles like the kind Eliza had,” King said.

A GoFundMe has been created to help the family with funeral expenses.