3 Rescued from Burning Boat

Boater says passing craft didn't stop to offer help

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    NEWSLETTERS

    One of the passengers aboard a boat that caught fire Thursday says that during the 10 minutes he was floating in the water waiting for rescue, a first boat passed by without even stopping to help.

    "I mean that’s boat etiquette. You are supposed to help boaters in distress. But obviously we had some people that felt the need to go by, even though they saw flames," said Kerensky Rhoden Sr.

    He and two other passengers were on the boat about a half-mile out from Rainbow Beach, on the city's Southeast Side, when it caught fire. All three jumped into Lake Michigan while flames completely destroyed the craft.

    One boat passed the trio, Rhoden said, but a second -- named Pac-Man -- finally came to their aid near the city water filtration plant off 79th Street.

    Rhoden added that the people aboard the rescue boat "very nice and gracious" and took them ashore where an ambulance was waiting.

    One of the other passengers, a 42-year-old off duty sheriff’s official, was taken to the University of Chicago, while the other two were treated and released, said Chicago Fire Battalion Chief Edward Cerdan.

    Cerdan pointed to a malfunctioning radio on the boat as a possible cause of the fire.