Lake Michigan

Water safety top of mind after several Lake Michigan drownings

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When the temperature remains hot, the beach may look like the best place to spend some time.

However, beach-goers should be aware, lifeguards are no longer on duty.

“I, too, wish we had enough lifeguards to stay past Labor Day,” said swimmer Mary Kay Prizwan.

Mary Kay Prizwan is taking safety precautions while swimming near the Ohio Street Beach Tuesday, knowing the lifeguard chair is empty.

“Unless you’re really comfortable, just stand where you can and don’t go out so far, especially when there are no lifeguards,” she advised.

Chicago’s lifeguard duty typically ends following Labor Day, but this year, it’s also ending on a tragic weekend.

Six people lost their lives in Lake Michigan during the long weekend, two of them in the Chicago-area.

One person drowned near East Chicago, Indiana, and the other, near 31st Street Beach along South DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

A woman is reportedly in critical condition after being pulled from the water near Montrose Harbor early Tuesday morning, and officials had their helicopter up searching for a boater who apparently jumped in the water about a mile off shore and never resurfaced.

All of these incidents are a somber reminder to those spending time near the water Tuesday.

Even for the confident, expert swimmers.

“That’s why I try to stay as close to the side as possible, so if there is a problem I can (survive)," said Tony Garcia, who is training for an event near the Ohio Street Beach.

“I bought this a couple months ago, my first swim buoy, even though I have been swimming for 40 years now,” said Prizwan. “Now that I’m a little smarter, I always swim with a swim buoy."

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