Two rescued after boat capsizes in Lake Michigan - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Two rescued after boat capsizes in Lake Michigan

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Chicago Marine Police officer Mark Flechsig talks about dramatic rescue of capsized sailboat. (Credit: Craig Wall) Chicago Marine Police officer Mark Flechsig talks about dramatic rescue of capsized sailboat. (Credit: Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Emergency crews rescued two people from a boat that capsized in Lake Michigan Friday afternoon near the Woodlawn neighborhood.

The police Marine Unit responded about 3:20 p.m. to a report of a capsized boat in the lake near the 6500 block of South Promontory Drive and pulled two people out of the water, police said.

The boaters were part of a sailing team and were honing their skills when the weather conditions turned on them and their sailboat flipped over, tossing them out into the chilly water.

Chicago police escorted the rescued man and woman to shore. Both are University of Chicago students who were part of the Jackson Park Yacht Club sailing school

Their 14-foot FJ sailboat capsized several hundred yards off shore, according to Chicago Police, who raced 10 miles down the lake from the Marine Harbor and rescued the two.

Officials with the sailing school estimated the students had been in the water for ten to fifteen minutes.

Police said it was fortunate they were wearing life jackets, or the outcome could have been very different.

"When you're in the water and it's cold, you have much less time being able to stay afloat, they would probably have submerged and it would have been possible rescue, maybe recover situation where we would be diving for these victims," Chicago Marine Police Officer Mark Flechsig said.

A member of the sailing school said the weather conditions just got too rough.

"The waves, the wind, the boat flipped over, usually when it goes over it comes back up, but all the water that gets into the boat, all the waves out there, couldn't flip it back up," Daryl Jones, a Jackson Harbor Yacht Club steward, said.

A sailing school official said the boaters had a chase boat nearby that could have rescued the students if the Marine unit had not been able to get there as quickly as it did.

The students were checked out by paramedics after being brought back into the harbor. They refused treatment and appeared fine, but they declined to talk about the accident.

Police said this is a good reminder for other boaters about the need to take safety precautions.

"Sometimes I think people are in too much of a rush they want to have fun and they want to enjoy the weather and that's understandable," Flechsig said. "Safety has to come first though and a lot of common sense is involved in doing that."

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