Reporting Bernie Tafoya
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SUMMIT, Ill. (CBS) – A middle-aged man is lucky to be alive this morning after jumping into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to show off Wednesday night.
Summit Assistant Fire Chief Rich Gallaga said man, who appeared to be in his 50s, was with a couple of women late Wednesday at the Port of Summit boat launch, when he decided to show off to them that he could swim to the other side of the canal and back.
Gallaga says the canal is about 300 yards across. He says the man got caught in passing barge traffic and the current from it pulled him about a mile and a half from where he went into the water.
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The women became concerned shortly after the man went into the water and around 1 a.m. called the Summit Fire Department which put a boat in the water to search for the man. Firefighters were unsuccessful in their search, which had to be called off when stormy weather hit around 3 a.m.
When the man was found hours later by Metropolitan Water Reclamation District police, the man was on land on a frontage road around Harlem.
Gallaga says the man had cuts and scratches that were likely caused by debris in the water and from trying to climb up the embankment to safety.
Gallaga says the man, “was found in just his underwear. He had taken his clothes off on the shore of where he jumped in. “
The man was taken to MacNeal Hospital where he was expected to be treated and released.
Summit police are conducting an investigation.