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Crews Continue Search for Missing Boaters in Lake Michigan

By  Josh McGhee and Alex Parker  | June 1, 2014 10:43am | Updated on June 1, 2014 6:13pm

 Coast Guard rescue crews prepare for a mission. (File photo)
Coast Guard rescue crews prepare for a mission. (File photo)
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Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

CHICAGO — Crews continue their search after two were people pulled from Lake Michigan Sunday morning. They were among four sailing back to Chicago from Michigan when their boat capsized east of Burnham Harbor about 7 p.m. Saturday evening, authorities said.

A man and a woman were pulled from the lake. The woman, in her late 20s, died at 10:04 a.m. after being taken to Mercy Hospital, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said.

The group was sailing from New Buffalo, Michigan, to Burnham Harbor when their 33-foot recreational craft experienced "some kind of incident on board," said Charles Wolfson, command officer on duty for the Coast Guard's Lake Michigan Sector Command in Milwaukee. The boat, which was 5 to 7 miles offshore, may have caught fire or started sinking, he said.

The group put on life vests and jumped in the water. It wasn't until about 6 a.m. when a fisherman saw one of the men in the water that officials were notified of the stricken craft and began a rescue effort.

The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to Mercy Hospital in serious condition, said Officer Jose Estrada, a police spokesman. Wolfson said the man is recovering from hypothermia.

Later, a woman was located. She was taken to Mercy in critical condition, and declared dead at the hospital, officials said.

The Coast Guard is leading the search for the remaining sailors. Three Coast Guard helicopters, four Coast Guard boats, five Chicago Police marine unit boats, Chicago Fire boats and a helicopter, and a C-130 aircraft from the Canadian Coast Guard located in Trenton, Ontario, are aiding in the search.

Wolfson said it is still a search-and-rescue mission, despite waters as cold as 48 degrees. He said the rescue was operating in "good search conditions."

The group tried to alert authorities about the boat's situation, Wolfson said, but could not get a cellphone signal so far off land, and were unable to use the boat's radio equipment since it was losing power.