CHICAGO (CBS) — Police and Fire department divers searched late Monday afternoon for a missing person in Lake Michigan near Diversey Harbor, but ended up calling off the search because conditions were just too dangerous.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, Chicago Fire Department officials said four CFD divers and one CPD diver were searching the water after receiving reports of a male who fell in the water. The search began around 4 p.m.
But late in the afternoon, officials said they called off the search – which is now a recovery mission.
The Fire Department said some teenagers were swimming in the lake despite dangerous waves rising to 4 to 6 feet high.
Three of the four made it back to shore, but one boy – who is believed to be 14 years old – did not make it. The friends tried unsuccessfully to save him.
“I walked over there and there’s maybe eight kids, and two of them was like, attempting like they were going to jump in the water, I guess looking for their buddy – but he was gone,” said witness Dexter Jackson.
Jackson said the situation was heartbreaking – and one he’d tragically seen play out before.
“This is the second time I’ve witnessed this on the lakefront. The first time was this little bitty boy jumping in the water – these poor kids – they actually found his body,” he said.
The National Weather Service has issued a beach hazards statement through Wednesday morning, due to waves up to 10 feet high, and strong currents making for dangerous swimming conditions.
CBS 2 Meteorologist Robb Ellis said 6- to 10-foot waves are expected into Monday night. Waves as high as 8 feet were seen as winds out of the north continued at 25 to 35 mph.
A Lakeshore Flood Advisory is also in effect for the Illinois side of the lake until noon Tuesday.
The city’s beaches also are closed due to the pandemic, and lifeguards are not on duty.