Men Pulled From Lake Michigan Pronounced Dead

In waters as cold as Lake Michigan's, fire officials warned, it takes only a couple of minutes for hypothermia to set in.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fire officials say men may have misjudged how cold the water was at 31st Street Beach. NBC 5's Dick Johnson reports. (Published Tuesday, May 20, 2014)

    Two swimmers died of hypothermia Tuesday after taking a tragic dip in Lake Michigan's still-icy waters to escape Chicago's sweltering heat.
     
    The two men, who had been at the beach with their families, were pulled from the lake at the 31st Street Beach just after 4 p.m. in "extremely critical" condition, fire officials said. They were taken to Mercy Hospital and later died.

    The victims were identified Wednesday morning as Ali Moufid, 36, and 40-year-old Otmane Kassou.

    Witnesses reported seeing at least two people in Lake Michigan waters at about 4 p.m. and never seeing them resurface. A third person entered the water in an attempt to save the men.

    The two men had been with their families when they decided to go for a swim, fire officials said. The men began running into problems about 35 yards out from the shore, when they were in 7 to 8 feet of cold water.

    In water that cold, fire officials said, it takes only a couple of minutes for hypothermia to set in.

    "We dropped two divers out of the helicopter, and within a couple of minutes they found the victims," deputy fire chief Mike Fox said.

    "I mean, we got weather that's right around 90 degrees, and everybody thinks the water is that warm — but the water temperature is right around 50 degrees, and that can really zap your energy really fast," he warned.

     

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