Chicago fire officials say that one person has died and two others were able to make it back to safety after they were caught up in high waves and strong currents in separate incidents on Lake Michigan on Sunday.
The day started at approximately 7:30 a.m. when a Marine Unit was called to the 1200 block of West Greenleaf. Officials say that a man had entered the water at the location, and did not resurface.
A short time later, officials received another distress call in the 6800 block of North Sheridan. Two people were reported to be in the water at the location, but were able to reach a pier and climb out to safety before rescuers could reach them, officials said.
As the Marine Unit was in the area, they spotted a man floating in the water. They were able to pull him out, but he was pronounced dead a short time later, officials said.
It is not known at this time whether the man was the same person who had been reported missing earlier in the day, but officials are working to identify the victim.
The rescues come amid increasingly dangerous conditions on the lake, with waves reaching up to 7 feet high on the water. Gusty northerly winds are making for hazardous swimming conditions, and officials are urging residents to stay out of the water.
According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, 1,009 people have drowned in the Great Lakes since 2010. Of those, 63 have occurred in 2021, and 29 of them were reported in Lake Michigan.
The group quoted Chicago Ald. Maria Hadden, who posted a video on Facebook Live after a swimmer went missing at Pratt Street Beach in Chicago.
“Please do not go in the lake e not a strong swimmer and there are no lifeguards on duty,” she said. “We put up red flags for a reason. The lake is beautiful, and very dangerous.”
The group has urged the Chicago Park District to install life rings along the lakeshore in an effort to help individuals who find themselves in dangerous situations on the water.