3 Boaters Still Missing in Shipping Canal After Crash

One body was found several miles downstream from the crash site

Authorities continued a search Thursday for several men who went missing after a boat sank in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal.

Three men remain missing from the boat, which held four people when it sank before dawn Wednesday near Damen Avenue on the Southwest Side, Illinois Conservation Police Sgt. Joshua Mooi said Thursday evening.

The body of the presumed fourth boater was found Wednesday morning in suburban Forest View, four miles downstream from where the boat was recovered, Illinois State Police said. Elmer Jimenez, 32, was found floating dead in the river.

Investigators with the Illinois Conservation Police were unsure what caused the 26-foot recreational boat to sink.

“Based on damage of boat, it’s hard to tell,” Mooi said. “We haven’t found an impact point” that would indicate what, if anything, the boat hit, Mooi said.

Mooi suspected the boat sank somewhere near Damen or Ashland avenues early Wednesday.

“We’re trying to narrow it down, trying to determine a time,” Mooi said. Water current in the canal has been weak, which suggests the boat sank south of the boat house near Racine Avenue, Mooi said. If it sank north of that point, the boat would have probably run ashore, Mooi said.

The boat probably sank sometime between midnight and 5 a.m. Wednesday, when authorities were initially alerted to the sunken vessel by a barge’s crew, Mooi said.

Chicago Police’s Marine Unit pulled the boat from the water at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, but the vessel was empty, police said.

Search teams — which include Chicago police, U.S. Coast Guard and Illinois Conservation Police — plan to continue their search Friday at 7 a.m., and will focus on the channel between California and Cicero avenues, Mooi said. The missing men are in their 20s and 30s, Mooi said.

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