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One Dead, One Hospitalized After Lake Michigan Boat Accident

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CHICAGO (STMW) — A woman has died and a man was hospitalized after they were rescued from Lake Michigan on Sunday morning — one day after their boat capsized Saturday, authorities said.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the woman’s death. Ashley Haws, in her 20s, was taken to Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. Sunday.

The man was rescued from the lake after he was spotted by a fishing boat near the 31st Street Harbor about 6:15 a.m., Chicago Police said.

Joel Reiser, a fishing captain with Brush and Roll Charters, said he was about six miles off shore when he spotted what appeared to be a kayak.

One Dead, One Hospitalized After Lake Michigan Boat Accident

rescue One Dead, One Hospitalized After Lake Michigan Boat Accident
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Reiser told reporters he pulled his boat up and discovered a man in a life jacket calling for help. He threw the man a life preserver, pulled him onto the boat and immediately called the U.S. Coast Guard. Rescue crews arrived a short time later to take the man to the hospital.

The man told authorities he was on a boat that capsized about 6 miles offshore about 7 p.m. Saturday, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

The man, who was suffering from hypothermia, was taken in critical condition to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

About two hours later, search crews found a second victim — later identified as Haws — who also was taken to Mercy Hospital in “extremely critical” condition, said Chicago Fire Chief Joe Roccasalva. Authorities were performing CPR on her as she was brought into the emergency room. She later was pronounced dead.

It’s believed the four boaters left from Burnham Harbor and traveled in a 30-foot motor boat to New Buffalo, Mich. and were returning when something went wrong Saturday night.

Roccasalva said the man rescued from the lake told different versions of what happened.

“When you’re hypothermic, you’re not thinking straight,” Roccasalva said, noting the water temperature was 60 degrees Sunday morning. “So he was a little confused.”

He did tell rescuers that the other passengers were also wearing life preservers.

While the boat hasn’t been located, debris from the craft including seat cushions have been found in the water, according to Roccasalva.

Rescue crews are looking for two more victims in the lake, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said the search includes a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and two helicopters, one Chicago Fire Department helicopter, two fire department boats, three Chicago Police Marine Unit boats and four Coast Guard boats.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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