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Tinley Park Teen Dies After Water Rescue At Michigan Beach

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CHICAGO (CBS) –Strong winds and high waves proved to be a deadly combination at Lake Michigan beaches this weekend. Two people lost their lives, including a teenager from southwest suburban Tinley Park.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports the drownings occurred despite posted warnings.


Red flags were flying in New Buffalo Michigan, warning of riptides and waves up to six feet, with swimming permitted only with extreme caution.

Leslie Bauman kept her kids away.

“None of them are strong enough swimmers for that. I wouldn’t even go in,” said Bauman, a New Buffalo visitor.

But 15-year-old Matthew Kocher went in, and it cost him his life.
Kocher was rescued by lifeguards and airlifted to University of Chicago Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“It’s really frightening that can happen. Hopefully they just have good lifeguards that watch out so it doesn’t happen again,” said New Buffalo visitor Star Auerbach.

There are no lifeguards or warning flags at Lake View Beach in the Indiana dunes, but waves reached five feet and the weather service had issued a beach hazard warning.

“There are signs advising visitors when the surf is high, that the water can be very dangerous,” said Ken Mehne of the National Park Service.

It proved deadly for 37-year-old Gonzola Silva of Lafayette, Indiana after he was reported struggling offshore.

“If you see whitecaps or waves that are breaking over each other, that means the water is very rough and very difficult to swim in,” said Mehne.

Matthew Kocher played football at Andrew High School in Tinley Park.
The Cook County medical examiner will conduct an autopsy tomorrow to determine the teenager’s cause of death.