Crews search for person in Lake Michigan near Diversey Harbor

BySarah Schulte and Will Jones WLS logo
Friday, February 26, 2016
Teen swept into Lake Michigan
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Chicago police and fire crews are now calling the search for a person in Lake Michigan a recovery mission.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police and fire crews are now calling the search for a person in Lake Michigan a recovery mission after the North Side rescue effort was unsuccessful Thursday morning.

Officials said a teenage boy was walking on a jetty in Diversey Harbor when he was hit from behind by a wave. He had came to the lakefront with friends to check out the big waves.

"One of his friends did attempt to get down into water to assist the person that was in the water struggling. But because of the wave action, he was unable to help him and climbed out and was treated by fire department/EMS," said District Dep. Chief Ron Dorneker, Chicago Fire Department.

The victim's friend was taken to a police pick-up truck to warm up while divers continued the search. But because of the treacherous lake conditions, divers could only stay out for about an hour. Divers were pulled in around 12:40 p.m.

"It's tumbling, it's very dangerous. It was very difficult. There's zero visibility for our divers down there," Dornecker said.

With the lake temperature at 33 degrees, it didn't take long for rescue efforts to become recovery mode. A rescue mission becomes a recovery mission when it is presumed that the subject has died.

In the meantime, people who have watched the waves during the past two days are not surprised that this dangerous body of water claimed another victim.

"It happens a lot, it's amazing to me how many people end up in this lake all year long," said Kathy Allen.

"It's sad but look at that - there's not much you can do about that, you probably shouldn't be over there," said Curtis Lofaro.

Family and friends are devastated. A few friends came to Diversey Harbor Thursday night to pay their respects.