Chicago firefighters attempted to revive 13-year-old Tianna Hollinside, after they found her in the 52-degree water.
Tianna had been with friends at Roger Beach. Around 9:50 a.m., three boys she was with screamed for help.
"I heard kids in the park screaming and crying, and so I came out to the porch and I yelled down to them and asked what was going on," said Brad Gibbs, neighbor.
Tianna's family said she had been out on an edge near Rogers Beach.
"The waves were a bit much for her, she wasn't ready for that," said her cousin Okema Hemphill.
"I jumped in and swam around to see if I could find her," Gibbs said.
CFD says Tianna died at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. She lived in the 1600 block of W. Jonquil Terrance, in Chicago near the beach where she drowned.
Tianna disappeared off a small rocky beach at 7500 North toward the city's north border when she went under.
She was pulled from the water around 10:45 a.m., about 45 minutes after divers arrived.
"Due to the wind, and the current, and the limited visibility it was a very difficult search for divers. Approximately 45 minutes after we arrived on the scene and started our search operations, we located the victim," said Deupty District Chief Ron Dorneker, Chicago Fire Department.
Crews performed CPR, and the victim was initially transported to the hospital alive but in critical condition.
"They pulled her out, was doing CPR on her. And, you know, they tried hard," said Nicole Gentle, witness.
Officials reminded people that the lake is still very cold despite increased air temperatures. The Chicago Park District said beaches do not officially open, nor are staffed with lifeguards, until May 26.
Gibbs said kids often swim in the area, in which the water is about 10 feet deep.
Tianna's family said she had skipped school that morning to go to the lake. The area where she went into the water is not watched by lifeguards, even after the official beach opening date. Her cousin pleaded with other teens to listen to their parents.
"Listen to your parents, follow your parents' rules. We know it, we know a lot," Hemphill said.