Coast Guard rescues windsurfer in Lake Michigan

A Coast Guard Station Wilmette Harbor crew rescues a kite surfer in Lake Michigan near Evanston, Illinois, Oct. 17, 2016 after the surfer became distressed. U.S Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Wilmette Harbor.

A Coast Guard Station Wilmette Harbor crew rescues a kite surfer in Lake Michigan near Evanston, Illinois, Oct. 17, 2016 after the surfer became distressed. U.S Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Wilmette Harbor.

MILWAUKEE — The Coast Guard rescued a windsurfer when his mast broke in Lake Michigan, one mile east of Lee Street Beach in Evanston, Illinois, Monday.

“Even as the busy summer season comes to an end, the great working relationship between Station Wilmette Harbor and local emergency responders remain as strong as ever,” said Chief Petty Officer Christopher Furlow, officer in charge of Station Wilmette Harbor. “Cooperation and coordination of efforts led to another life saved on Lake Michigan.”

At approximately 6:30 p.m., a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee received a call from the Evanston Police Department relaying a report from a good Samaritan stating that his friend had texted him via cellular phone reporting that he was wind surfing off of Lee Street Beach and his mast had broken and he could not make it back to shore.

Evanston Fire Department was first on the scene and was unable to get a visual of the man in distress but was able to reach him via cellular phone.

The windsurfer reported that he was approximately one mile east of Lee Street Beach and was wearing a life jacket and wetsuit and safely floating on his board.

Sector Lake Michigan launched a search and rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Wilmette Harbor. The crews arrived on scene within a few minutes and rescued the man with assistance from the Evanston Fire Department.

The man was brought to the Coast Guard station where he declined emergency medical services and was released.

The Northwestern Sailing Club had a boat in the area and recovered the damaged windsurfing board and sail.

“This case highlights that making the right decisions before entering the water can ultimately save your life,” said Lieutenant Commander Bryan Swintek, Sector Lake Michigan’s search and rescue coordinator. The person in distress made good choices by wearing a lifejacket and having a reliable means of communication.”

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