Lake Michigan swimmers reported a strange, dark sheen invading the popular Porter Beach in Indiana, forcing people out of the water Monday afternoon.
After alerting authorities, the slick substance appeared to mysteriously withdraw without a trace, perhaps sinking or going further out into Lake Michigan.
A Porter fireman told sources that he was the first to respond before the substance left. He described it as a dark, oil-like material. The sheen appeared to stretch almost a mile along the beach, the fireman said.
Getting a chance to examine the strange oily material, the Porter fireman said it appeared gun-metal gray with metallic flecks in it.
Several swimmers, including children, were covered in the dark liquid before getting out of the water. There have not yet been any reports of injury or health issues.
The US Coast Guard along with local authorities have closed five beaches in northern Indiana and in general are advising swimmers to stay out of Lake Michigan for the time being.
An investigation into the alarming appearance of the mystery substance is underway, but the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has identified some of the chemical’s composition.
This included tricalcium orthophosphate, a substance sources say is used as a fertilizer and a food additive, gluconic acid, a liquid used in metal cleaning, and, believe it or not, maple syrup.
Chemists are still analyzing samples from Lake Michigan. They expect this to help locate the source of the spill or spills of the strange combination of substances.
Indiana conservation officer Gene Davis said authorities are “completely baffled as to what it truly is.” He stated the dark substance could be from a steel mill or possibly a barge.
Sources say it will likely take up to a week for experts to identify exactly what the mysterious, dark substance closing Indiana beaches along Lake Michigan is and whether it is a hazard to swimmers.
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