Coast Guard rescues woman in Lake Michigan

CLEVELAND — A Coast Guard boatcrew rescued a 22-year-old woman who was missing for more than one hour after the wind blew her offshore in an inflatable life raft, Wednesday night at Foster’s Beach, in Chicago.

The woman was not wearing a life jacket and did not have paddles aboard the raft.

A local 911 dispatcher notified the watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, of a woman on a raft who had not been seen in more than one hour.

Coast Guard search crews launched aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Station Wilmette Harbor, in Wilmette, Ill., and an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Waukegan, Ill. Search crews from the Chicago Marine Police and Chicago Fire Department were also involved in the search for the missing woman.

The Coast Guard RB-S crew located the woman almost a mile from Foster’s Beach at 11:53 p.m. There were no injuries reported.

“With the highest number of rip current-related fatalities and rescues of all the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is not a forgiving body of water, but many of these tragedies are preventable,” said Capt. Matt Sibley, the commander of Sector Lake Michigan.

“The Coast Guard recommends swimmers and boaters check the weather, particularly the wind speed and wave heights, before going out on the lake — and wear a life jacket.”

“This may seem like common sense, but sometimes these precautions are overlooked and a tragedy strikes. I have seen this happen time and time again.”

This is the second time this week the Coast Guard was called on to respond to the report of a missing person who was using a raft at a Lake Michigan beach. Tragically, search crews failed to find the previous missing person.

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