UPDATE: On Thursday, Winnetka officials said a body was recovered around 1:30 p.m. at Wilmette Harbor.
While the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office hasn’t confirmed the identity, officials said they are “reasonably confident” the body is of the person who went missing earlier this week.
Previous story below:
WINNETKA, Ill. — A recovery mission for a missing swimmer in Lake Michigan in Winnetka has wrapped for the day with hopes that efforts will resume Wednesday morning.
Fire crews had been at Elder Lane Beach for several hours searching for a man they believed to be in his 20s. However, family members told WGN the man had just turned 19.
Authorities received a call around 2:15 a.m. after three men went into the lake near the pier to go swimming. One of them was reportedly pulled under and has not yet resurfaced.
Winnetka Fire Chief John Ripka said crews started shore searches immediately after they got the call. Authorities attempted to launch a boat but the waves, estimated to be between six and eight-feet currently, made it too dangerous.
Ripka said they called in the US Coast Guard for assistance, which responded by boat.
After some challenges due to weather and winds, their helicopter was up and helping with the recovery mission.
Rescue crews are using rakes to search along the break walls and shoreline, but crews are up against challenging conditions.
“It just inhibits our ability to get in the water, to launch a boat, to do a search beyond what we can see from the shore,” Ripka said.
The National Weather Service has a Beach Hazards Statement in place through 10 p.m. Tuesday. Waves are estimated to be between six and nine feet high along Lake Michigan beaches through Tuesday night.
The conditions are said to be life-threatening due to the strong currents and high waves.
“When you see the beach alerts or wave conditions in excess of a couple of feet, obviously that’s not the time to go in the water,” Ripka said.
Dave Benjamin, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project said the month of August is the deadliest month of the year for swimmers, adding that Tuesday was the 24th drowning to occur in Lake Michigan this year.
“Our condolences to the family that’s going to be going through a very hard grieving process,” Benjamin said.
More than 1,200 drownings have occurred in the Great Lakes since 2010.