THIRD LAKE, Ill. (WLS) --Crews recovered the body of a teenager Monday night who had been swimming in far north suburban Third Lake, near Grayslake.
The victim's name has not been released, but a family friend said he's 16 years old. The waters here at the time of the drowning were calm, but officials say it appears the teen was not wearing a life vest.
"It's very shocking, very surreal. It's a good bunch of kids just hanging around and having fun, and then a tragedy happens," said Mario Villanueva, Third Lake resident.
Emergency responders descended upon the serene waters of Third Lake shortly after 4:00 p.m. Monday after getting a call about a missing teenage boy who'd been on a boat with several others on the lake.
"We were informed that there was one individual missing. He was struggling while he was swimming, went down and never resurfaced," said Chief John Christian, Grayslake Fire Protection Dist.
"I can't even imagine what his family is going through, and I also think about the other kids that were with him and the guilt and the sadness they're all going to go through," said Jeanne Hendrickson, Third Lake resident.
Rescue boats and dive teams used sonar to try to locate the boy. After of searching, the teen's body was found in the center of the lake in about 60 feet of water.
The discovery left neighbors shaken in the close-knit community where nearly everyone's a familiar face.
"It's very, very sad. Wonderful family. Part of the community, part of the church. Just can't say enough nice things about them," said Villanueva.
"We do have several lakes around here, and as we get into boating season and the warm season, we want to remind everybody how important it is to have personal floatation devices available," said Christian.
The fire chief says in his nearly 30 years with the department, he's never known of a drowning on this lake. In fact, because of the calmness of the water, and the depth of the water, this is where area first responders train their dive teams.