Navy Pier

3-Year-Old Boy Pulled From Water at Navy Pier Was Pushed, Witness Says

A person who watched Navy Pier's surveillance video said the push was clear.

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A 3-year-old boy found in Lake Michigan near Navy Pier Monday afternoon was pushed toward the water, according to a witness who spoke to NBC 5. That witness viewed Navy Pier surveillance video and said the push was "clear as day."

According to the witness, once the video was viewed, a Chicago police officer asked the guardian about the push, and the woman shrugged. When rescuers first arrived, the witness said the woman was initially "crying and playing the part." The witness spoke on a condition of anonymity to discuss matters still under investigation.

Chicago police said Monday evening that they were questioning a person of interest in the case, and no one has been charged.

Another witness said the guardian was acting unusual as the boy was struggling in the water and did not give clear answers as people tried to rescue him. Officials have not said how the woman is related to the boy.

"She really was not active in any of the rescue help," said Ashton King. "Essentially as soon as we got there, she kind of backed away."

King was walking with a friend on the north side of the pier, and she said her friend heard a splash.

"We kind of sprung into action asking, 'Is this your son?' 'Who is this?'" said King. "[The woman] didn't really give us a clear response at all which was very bizarre to us."

Chicago police said they received a 911 call around 1 p.m. about a boy in the water. Dive teams were deployed to the area and rescuers pulled the boy out. A witness said the boy was in the water for about 15 minutes. The boy was pulled out in cardiac arrest and was taken to Lurie Children's Hospital in critical condition, according to authorities.

King, a mother of two, said the woman didn't call 911 or ask them to call 911. Other witnesses found a life ring within minutes and threw it in the water, she said.

"By the time we had thrown it in the water, unfortunately the little boy had gone under," said King.

King said she also saw the interaction between police and the guardian after police had viewed Navy Pier's surveillance video.

"Within less than five minutes, [the police] had kind of asked her [about the push] and she just folded," said King.

The north side of Navy Pier is primarily used for parking and deliveries, but there is a walkway for pedestrians along the water. On Monday, Navy Pier released a statement about the rescue, and referred questions about the investigation to the Chicago Police Department.

“Navy Pier is deeply saddened to learn about the injury of a child pulled from the water this afternoon," the statement read. "We are working very closely with the Chicago Police Department as they investigate the incident. Our hearts are with the child and his loved ones.”

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