CHICAGO – A woman on a boat that capsized miles from Chicago’s shoreline died Sunday after being pulled from Lake Michigan, and the U.S. Coast Guard said crews were conducting an air and water search for as many as four other people.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office confirmed the woman’s death Sunday afternoon, but had no other details. A fisherman pulled a man who had been on the boat from the lake around 6:15 a.m. Sunday. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Rescuers pulled the woman from the 60-degree water a few hours later.
It’s not clear whether there were four or six people board the 30-foot boat that capsized about five to seven miles from shore Saturday night.
Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Levi Read said the rescued boater is in a “hypothermic state” and has given conflicting information.
“Because of his state, he’s changed his story several times during questioning and while he was getting medical care,” Read said. “As a precaution we’re searching for more, rather than less.”
The boat was traveling between New Buffalo, Michigan, and the Chicago area.
“Apparently something happened really fast and they either didn’t have a radio or their radio was broken,” Read said.
Ron Dornecker, head of Chicago Fire Department Marine and Dive operations, said crews were searching for two of the boaters about six miles from the 31st Street Harbor.
“We’re searching a very large area out there,” Dornecker said. “When the people did enter the water last night, they were separated. It was nighttime. They could be, at this point, miles apart.”
He warned that the boaters were in “very cold water,” but said all who remain missing are believed to be wearing flotation devices.
The search includes helicopters and an airplane, as well as boats.