Coast Guard rescues swimmer near breakwall in Wilmette, Ill.

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND – A U.S. Coast Guard boatcrew from Station Wilmette Harbor, Ill., rescued an 18-year-old Chicago man who was in danger of drowning near the breakwall at Wilmette Dog Beach in Gillson Park, Ill., Wednesday night.

Personnel from the Wilmette Fire Department, who had initially responded to the 911 call made by a good Samaritan, requested Coast Guard assistance at 6:31 p.m. CST because they were not able to reach the man.

A boatcrew in a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Station Wilmette Harbor immediately launched and arrived four minutes later. The Coast Guardsmen brought the man aboard the RB-S and took him to the station, where emergency medical technicians were waiting. The EMTs evaluated him at the station before transporting him to a local hospital.

The man told responders he had been swimming around the breakwall when the waves became very large and began pounding him against the rocks on the breakwall. He stated he hit his head on the rocks while he was fighting to stay afloat.

Waves in the area were reportedly four feet with swells up to five feet.

The Coast Guard urges swimmers to recreate in designated swimming areas and to avoid swimming near breakwalls and similar structures. Swimming conditions near breakwalls are unpredictable and unique since the structures are intended to protect harbors and marinas, and often cause strong currents and pounding waves in the water surrounding them.

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