Man dies in Winnetka after being pulled from lake near Centennial Park Beach

ByCate Cauguiran and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Man who drowned in Winnetka near Centennial Park Beach ID'd
Luke Laidley, 43 has died after being pulled from Lake Michigan near Centennial Park Beach after a boating incident.

WINNETKA, Ill. (WLS) -- A man has died after being pulled from Lake Michigan near Centennial Park Beach.

Winnetka fire officials said a boat was pulling three or four children on a tube in the water near Centennial Park Beach when one of the kids on the tube fell in the water. A man on the boat jumped into rescue that child, but then he went under the water for about a minute.

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"Some kids fell in the water, no big deal, off a raft and it sounds like the driver that was pulling around to come pick them back up, one of the children, I think, it looked as if, was having some trouble. The other kids were saying he's having trouble swimming," said witness Amy McCarter. "The gentleman who running the boat jumped in the water to get the kid and meanwhile everybody sort of gathering on the beach and somebody called 911 because the kids was yelling something was down."

Witnesses said all children on board the raft were wearing life jackets at the time.

Others on the boat were able to pulls the drowning man onto the boat and began CPR on him, fire officials said. The boat was met at the beach by Winnetka first responders who continued CPR.

The man was taken to a hospital in Evanston in serious condition. Fire officials said he died at about 4 p.m.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office identified the man as 43-year-old Luke Laidley.

There were several other incidents of people pulled or rescued from the water Tuesday. In Michigan City, a man was pulled from the water at Washington Park Beach and taken to Franciscan Hospital in critical condition.

David Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says the tragedies are a reminder of water safety education.

"Whenever people are going in any body of water, they should always be exercising hyper vigilant water safety," he said.

He said if you end up in a position where you are struggling in the water, there are three things to remember: Flip, float and follow.

"Flip over on your back to float to keep your head above water, to calm yourself down from the fear of drowning and conserve energy and then follow a safe path out of the water," he said.

Benjamin added that if assisting others in a water rescue, always wear a floatation device before jumping in.