CHICAGO (CBS) — This is an incredible survival story.
Four brothers and sisters rescued from the waters of Lake Michigan offshore from Rogers Park after a storm swept them miles from shore.READ MORE: Man Struck, Killed While Crossing Street In Hit-And-Run In Edison Park
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot spoke to one of the rescuers about the two-hour long search.
The kids hadn’t come home before dark. Their parents went to the beach. They found their cellphones and belongings on the shore. Hearing that, the man you’re about to meet had one goal: reuniting those children with their parents.
Nineteen-year-old triplets, two girls and a boy along with their 13-year-old brother huddle together under rescue blankets in the warmth of an ambulance. This, after a massive two-hour search of Lake Michigan by boat and air.
Storms pushed the teens out into Lake Michigan while they were using an inflatable kayak and an inflatable paddle board.
“They didn’t have any means of communication. No lights. No phones to try to track them down,” said Andrew Brewster, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class. “The winds were nearly up to 40 knots. The seas reached up to two feet. The direction the storms came in, was pushing everything off shore.”READ MORE: Firefighter Who Found Baby Boy Dead Outside Near North Side Firehouse Joins In Somber Prayer Vigil
Brewster was in charge of the boat crew that searched for the teens.
“We found them, nearly in the pitch darkness,” Brewster said. “We had night vision goggles that allowed us to see them as we were conducting a search pattern.”
The crew used a computer program, inputting the last known location of the teens onshore. It led them to the spot about six miles off of Loyola Beach, where the teens were found. They were holding on to each other and their inflatable kayak and paddle board. None of them were wearing life jackets.
“The triplets that were older and their younger brother were very composed, very calm,” Brewster said. “Happy that we had found them in the water. Very grateful.”
Brewster said cases like this are a reminder to always wear a life jacket, look at the weather report and have a phone or marine radio with you, when you’re out on the water.MORE NEWS: Driver Crashes At Touhy Avenue After Shots Are Fired At Car On Edens Expressway; Lanes Shut Down For Hours