WINNETKA, Ill. (WLS) — A man died after being pulled from Lake Michigan near Centennial Park Beach.
Winnetka Firefighters said a boat was pulling three or four children on a hose into the water near Centennial Park Beach when one of the children on the hose fell into the water. A man in the boat jumped to that child’s rescue, but then went under the water for about a minute.
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“Some of the kids fell off a raft into the water, no big deal, and it seems the driver who was coming over to pick them up, one of the kids, I think, seemed to be having trouble. The other kids said he had trouble swimming. ”said witness Amy McCarter. “The gentleman who was driving the boat jumped into the water to get the child and in the meantime everyone gathered on the beach and someone called 911 because the children were screaming that something was wrong.”
Witnesses said all of the children aboard the raft were wearing life jackets at the time.
Others on the boat were able to pull the drowning man onto the boat and started CPR on him, firefighters said. The boat was met at the beach by Winnetka first responders who continued CPR.
The man was taken in serious condition to Evanston hospital. Firefighters said he died around 4:00pm
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as Luke Laidley, 43.
There were several other incidents of people being dragged or rescued from the water on Tuesday. In Michigan City, a man was pulled from the water on Washington Park Beach and taken to Franciscan Hospital in critical condition.
David Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says the tragedies are reminiscent of water safety education.
“Whenever people enter any body of water, they should always exercise hyper vigilant water security,” he said.
He said if you end up in a position where you’re struggling in the water, there are three things to remember: flip, float and follow.
“Flip onto your back to float to keep your head above water, to calm yourself from the fear of drowning and conserve energy, and then follow a safe path out of the water,” she said.
Benjamin added that if you are assisting others in a water rescue, always put on a flotation device before diving in.