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Family Sues Summer Camp After Boy, 15, Drowns

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Jacob Waxberg

Jacob Waxberg, 15, drowned while swimming at the Greenwoods Camp for Boys in southwest Michigan. (Credit: Facebook)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The family of a teenage boy from Buffalo Grove is suing, after the boy died during a swimming session at a summer camp in southwest Michigan.

Jacob Waxberg, 15, of Buffalo Grove, drowned July 20 during a lake swim session at the Greenwoods Camp for Boys near Decatur, Mich.

Waxberg’s family filed the suit against the camp and its corporate owner, Campgroup, LLC.

The suit claims Waxberg struggled in the water about 10:10 p.m. July 20 during a group swim session of boys at the camp, but no one saw him because of the darkness. There were no lights to maintain night visibility in the swimming area, according to the lawsuit.

Still unseen, Waxberg slipped underwater and was not found for almost 30 minutes, the lawsuit contends.

Waxberg had been at the camp for less than 48 hours at the time of his death, according to the family’s lawyers.

The Lake of the Woods Camp is operated by a number of Chicago area personnel and has become a popular camp for Chicago and north suburban families over the years.

“This was a completely preventable tragedy,” said Todd A. Smith of Power Rogers & Smith, one of the Waxbergs’ attorneys. “There are regulations which prohibit swimming in darkness which were clearly violated by having Jacob, and other swimmers, in the lake after 10 p.m. on this summer evening.

The police investigation revealed that sunset had occurred at 9:17 p.m. Upon being called to the scene, Michigan State police officer Brandon Davis immediately jumped into the water while still in his full clothing and police vest, and was required to use his flashlight under the water to try to find Waxberg.

His repeated efforts, along with other police personnel and camp personnel, eventually brought Waxberg up, but it was too late.

Waxberg attended Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, where he would have been a sophomore this school year, according to the Buffalo Grove Patch.

A memorial page for Waxberg on Facebook has drawn more than 4,160 fans.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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