Search Resumes For 2 Still Missing After Boating Accident
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police have resumed their search for two people still missing after a boat capsized in Lake Michigan on Saturday, leaving a woman dead and a man hospitalized.
The U.S. Coast Guard earlier suspended its search, as it does not perform recovery searches. The Coast Guard searched for more than a day before suspending the search Sunday night.
“Only after a probable search area is saturated with the appropriate assets and resources, and persons lost or in distress are still not located, is a decision made to suspend a case,” a Coast Guard spokesman said in an email Monday morning.
Four people went into the water when their boat capsized about 7 miles off shore from the 31st Street marina around 7 p.m. Saturday. Two victims who were still missing as of Monday are feared to have been in 60-degree water for more than 40 hours. It is believed they both were wearing life jackets when they went into the water.
The captain of a charter fishing boat spotted a man from the boat in the lake around 6 a.m. Sunday. 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. 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 Coast Guard.
“Apparently, the boat caught on fire, it was heavily involved in smoke,” Reiser said.
Rescue crews took the man Reiser rescued to Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in critical condition. He was being treated for hypothermia after spending a night in 60 degree water. His condition stabilized by Monday morning.
A couple hours after that man was found, search crews found a second victim, Ashley Haws. She also was taken to Mercy Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. Sunday.
Haws, an attorney who lived on the North Side, was described as “a beautiful and brilliant star in the legal community” by the Davi Law Group, a family law firm with offices in Chicago, Naperville, and Wheaton.
“Ashley brought a warm smile and very positive outlook to every situation. She was loved by all that met her. The law profession and the world have lost someone that was destined to do great things,” Davi Law Group founder Dion Davi said in a written statement. “Ashley was a driving force in the initial and continued growth of our law firm. She will greatly missed by me, our staff, and everyone that she came in contact with. Our sincerest thoughts go out to her mother, father, brother, family and friends.”
Haws grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and graduated from Valparaiso University law school two years ago.
By phone, her grandmother, Shirley Haws recalled the heartbreaking phone call from her son–Ashley’s father.
“He just said that Ashley died yesterday and that she had been out on the boat and the boat took on water,” said Shirley Haws.
Shirley Haws said Ashley was a “Wonderful, wonderful person. Very caring, very passionate, very family oriented. Loved kids. That’s why she was in family law. She loved her job, loved living in Chicago.”
Authorities believe the boat left from Burnham Harbor on Saturday and stopped in New Buffalo, Michigan, before heading back to Burnham Harbor, when it capsized off the 31st Street marina. Four people were on the boat when it capsized, but two others might have been dropped off earlier.
So far, only a small amount of debris from the boat has been found.
The Coast guard said a 27-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man were still missing as of early Monday morning. However, because the Coast Guard does not perform recovery searches, any further searches for the two remaining victims would be performed by the Chicago Police Marine Unit.
Rescue crews from three Coast Guard stations used several boats, three helicopters, and a plane as part of their search. Chicago Police Department and Fire Department boats also assisted in the search. The Coast Guard said crews spent a combined 43 hours searching more than 1,600 square miles for the boaters.