NPR logo Women Treaded Water In Lake Michigan For Hours Until Rescue

Women Treaded Water In Lake Michigan For Hours Until Rescue

 

I'm not trying to turn this blog into one on water-safety, honestly I'm not. But there's a rather remarkable story out of Chicago worth sharing.

Four people on a sailboat way out on Lake Michigan in the wee hours Friday morning decided to take a swim. Bad idea.

The boat drifted away from the group. But that wasn't the end of the story, at least not for two of the swimmers.

Two women, not particularly strong swimmers, were somehow able to keep themselves afloat for four hours by treading water. As if that wasn't tough enough, the water was 65 degrees.

It's fairly astounding they were able to keep going in water at that temperature for so long until they were rescued by fishermen.

Unfortunately, the body of one man in the group who apparently drowned was recovered. At last report, officials were looking for another man.

An excerpt from the Chicago Tribune:

Police Marine Unit Sgt. Jim Van Vranken at least one suffering from hypothermia. He said it was hard to believe the women were able to survive, especially because they had limited swimming skills. The two were both in good condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital this afternoon, and did not wish to speak to reporters, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

"It's amazing," Van Vranken said at a news conference. "The water temperature is 65 degrees. We have people in this unit that swim for a living, that's what they do. And even it would be hard for them to do that as well."

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There aren't a lot of reported details. So we don't know if alcohol was involved although it seems safe to question the judgment of people with limited swimming skills who would decide to jump off a sailboat and into Lake Michigan at 2 am.

It's just another sad example of how a dangerous it can be when people take bodies of water lightly, an all-too-frequent occurrence during the summer unfortunately.