CHICAGO (CBS) — One person was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, and rescue crews are searching the Lake Michigan for a second victim, after they fell from a boat Wednesday evening near the “Playpen”
The U.S. Coast Guard said a male wearing a red shirt and blue jeans shorts went overboard near the Playpen area around 6:40 p.m., and did not resurface.
Chicago Police said one person was pulled from the water near the Jardine Water Purification Plant, and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition.
Rescue crews were still searching for a second person who also fell in the water.
The Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police Department marine units, as well as a Chicago Fire Department helicopter were all involved in the search, according to the Coast Guard.
The incident comes less than a week after a boat accident in the Playpen, near Ohio Street and Oak Street beaches,
Lana Batochir had the most severe injuries, as both of her feet were severed by a boat propeller, and she later had surgery to amputate both legs 10 inches below the knees.
She and her husband were meeting up with old friends for a reunion of sorts on in the Playpen, but fun turned to tragedy in seconds.
Batochir, 34, said she was sucked into the water by another boat as she was on a raft with about five other people.
That boat’s propeller severed both of her feet. Her husband helped her get to safety on another boat, while Chicago Police marine officers also rescued another woman who had part of her hands severed. She was Batochir’s friend.
Medics took Batochir and her friend to the hospital. Investigators are trying to figure out what went wrong.
Initial reports indicated the captain of the boat that hit the raft was trying to anchor down. The crane malfunctioned, and as they tried to correct the boat, it sped up in reverse instead, colliding with the other boat.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police is conducting the investigation into the incident and will determine if the captain of the other boat could face charges.
The U.S. Coast Guard has said it is actively searching for information regarding the incident. Any witnesses can make an anonymous report through the Coast Guard Investigative Service Tips online. The Coast Guard said it’s particularly interested in talking with any passengers aboard LA AQUAVIDA or anyone who may have taken video of the incident.
The Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit Chicago Investigating Office and Criminal Investigative Service are working with the IDNR on the joint investigation.