Eight People Rescued After Five Boats Capsize on Lake Michigan

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

On Thursday afternoon, eight people were rescued in Evanston, Illinois after five boats capsized on Lake Michigan, according to local fire officials.

However, Evanston Fire Chief Paul Polep said everyone on all the boats has been accounted for. Apparently, no injuries were reported. Some of the people actually swam to shore on their own.

A Northwestern University spokesperson said two of the boats that capsized came from the Northwestern Sailing Club.

The incident reportedly occurred near Clark Street Beach and the Dempster Street Boat Launch.

Around 5:00 p.m., a quick change of weather caused massive waves that surprised boaters.

“The lake kind of flipped on us and capsized some boats. Multiple people in the water. We had a full water response,” Polep said.

Then, winds picked up drastically. One windsurfer went flying through the air and then into the lake. A lifeguard directed rescue boats to where people needed assistance.

While some people were evaluated at the scene, no one was taken to the hospital for treatment. Officials said that it is “fortunate” no one was hurt given how tall the waves were.

“It was quite a bit of swimming, quite a bit of effort on all the people out,” said Polep.

Boater Discovers Man’s Body Floating in Lake Michigan’s ‘Playpen’ Area Back in August

A boater spotted a man’s body floating in Lake Michigan‘s “Playpen” area on August 20, 2022. They then alerted authorities, Fox News reports. The body was discovered around 4:30 p.m. just as the Chicago Air and Water Show wrapped up.

U.S. Coast Guard units monitoring the Playpen arrived at the scene first. Then, the Chicago Marine Police recovered the body. 

Spencer Williams, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

However, this marks the third serious emergency event at the Playpen in the past week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

One person was left in critical condition on Wednesday. They had fallen off a boat in the Playpen at around 7:30 p.m. that day. Officials are still looking for a second person in that incident.

Furthermore, another horrific incident occurred last weekend at Lake Michigan’s “playpen” area.

In a tragic incident that occurred in August, a Chicago woman suffered an accident where a propeller severed both of her feet. The woman says she thought she was “going to die” on Lake Michigan. In this rafting accident, a passing vessel pulled her raft into its wake. She, along with passengers, got sucked under a passing boat, according to news outlets.

Her boat’s captain reversed the course, and it then sucked the floatie under the boat. The boat then carried Batochir and her friends onboard under the other vessel. The woman’s husband was on another boat and dragging the raft behind, according to CBS News.

She recalled the brutal moment, saying: “I thought I was dying. I fought for my life for seconds which felt like minutes. I began to drown, I couldn’t swim.”