CHICAGO (CBS) — A day after dozens of kayakers were rescued on the Chicago River after a thunderstorm hit the city, several kayak tours on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan were canceled on Monday, amid a new threat of thunderstorms.
But the tours were not called off Sunday, despite a similar threat that actually produced a major storm, with winds as strong as 100 miles per hour, toppling some kayaks.READ MORE: Chicago Police Union President Urges Aldermen To Repeal Mayor's Vaccine Mandate For City Workers; 'This Tyrant At The Top Needs To Stop What She’s Doing'
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker talked to those companies forced to explain what happened Sunday and why.
With the threat of thunderstorms on the horizon, the Water Riders kayak company cancelled the 2 p.m. river tour on Monday. Customers walked away disappointed, but not angry.
“It’s fine. It’s completely understandable, especially following what happened yesterday,” said customer Dan Lecour.
On Sunday, at least 62 kayakers had to be rescued, after 100 mph winds knocked a half dozen people into the river. On Monday, the owner of Water Riders tried to explain why he didn’t cancel Sunday’s 10 a.m. tour.
“There was nothing on the radar at 10:30,” Charlie Portis said.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Rain Totals From Sunday And Monday Storms
He said he watches the weather radar on his smart phone when he’s out on the water, and he saw nothing severe on the radar until 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
“So we immediately started back. The problem is a kayak only goes so fast,” he said.
When he was showed copies of emails from the National Weather Service, indicating a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued at 11:26 a.m. on Sunday, he said he didn’t see that alert while out on the river.
“Don’t forget, I’m guiding people on the river, so I don’t look at … I let my guys in the house, back at the office, check the radar more frequently than me,” he said.
Portis said the people at his office “absolutely should have” called him when the thunderstorm warning was issued to brink the kayakers back.
“We did not realize the storm was going to come in that quickly,” he said. “We’re wrong. We missed one.”
Water Riders was cited by the city for negligence. Another company, Kayak Chicago, got the same citation for the same offense.MORE NEWS: Another Victim Of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Identified: Francis Wayne Alexander, Of North Carolina
City officials said both companies “should have used more common sense and paid more attention to the weather.” They said they’re reaching out to all kayak operators to remind them of their responsibilities regarding the weather.