Updated 04/13/15 – 11:10 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A man and two children were rescued, but another man died, after a canoe tipped over in a north suburban lake on Sunday.
The four were fishing in Wooster Lake in unincorporated Lake County near Ingleside, when the boat capsized around 6 p.m.
By chance, a good Samaritan was walking with his wife when he saw the canoe tipped over, with three people clinging to a single life vest in the water. He saw another canoe on shore, so he jumped in, and paddled out to help pull one man and two children — ages 10 and 11 — to safety.
Fox Lake Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Tom Preidis said the four were fishing in about 20-foot deep water, approximately 150 yards from shore at the time.
“Three of them got out, swam to shore with help of a bystander that jumped in to help them get out, and the fourth adult male didn’t make it,” he said.
Divers searched the water for the second man, but were unable to locate him before he drowned. After crews began using sonar to search the deep water, that man’s body was recovered around 9:15 p.m.
The man who helped get the three people out of the water said he believes all four people in the canoe were related. He said he is heartbroken he could not save the fourth person who was in the canoe, and cannot shake the sound of the children’s chilling screams as they cried out for their father, who was still underwater.
A friend of that good Samaritan said the outcome could have been more deadly if he had not sprung into action.
“Something bad did happen, but it would have been a lot worse,” said his friend, Susan Richko. “He is a hero. I mean, this was crazy. God was with everyone last night, especially those two kids.”
The Lake County Coroner’s office identified the man who died as 35-year-old Mirza Muzaffarov. An autopsy determined the cause of death was drowning. Results of toxicology tests could take up to two weeks to complete.
Preidis said one life jacket was found floating in the water, but it didn’t appear as if any of the four had been wearing life preservers.