Chicago (CBS) — The compelling video shows how swiftly rescue crews scrambled to try and save lives. A firefighter in a wetsuit and flippers is almost knocked over by an incoming wave but continues on. He is tethered to crews on shore as he makes his way through churning surf to the troubled figure on the left of the screen, eventually reaching the 28-year-old man. They are both pulled to shore where the man, in a tank top and shorts, is able to walk out of the water to safety, while search and rescue efforts continue to locate his missing friend.
Brian Wray shot the video from his cell phone as he was cycling to work.
“The lake was very active. The waves were crashing. The wind was howling,” Wray said.
Fire officials said three people decided to jump into the powerful waves just after 7 a.m. Within moments, all were in trouble, but one man was able to swim to safety.
“There are waves that sneak up here and pull people in” said Chief Warrant Officer Matthew James of the U.S. Coast Guard. “These are dangerous conditions even for professionals wearing rescue equipment”
The search for the missing 24-year-old woman by fire crews, police and the U.S. Coast Guard continued for much of the morning. Fierce waves made it impossible for dive teams to ever enter the lake.
Air and land searches went on throughout the day, but after two hours, authorities were forced to abandon their efforts in the rough waters of the lake.