An afternoon for a group enjoying a float on Lake Michigan this weekend turned dangerous after a boat backed into their raft in the lake’s “Playpen” area, seriously injuring two women, 28 and 34 years, in the process.
According to authorities, one was injured in the hand and another had both feet severed due to the collision.
“It was weird to see someone backing off,” said Ted Widen, an AMP Boat rep who was on the lake. “You just don’t back up through the ‘park’. You know people are swimming everywhere, it’s dangerous and you know nothing good will come of it.
At approximately 5 p.m. Saturday, the Chicago Fire Department was called to an area known as “The Playpen,” north of Navy Pier, to an incident involving a ship called La Aquavida and a vessel of 33 feet parked in the anchorage area.
Authorities said a licensed captain tried to anchor the rental boat he operated and the anchoring device malfunctioned. After that, the boat started to drift.
New cellphone video shows the harrowing moment a boat backed into a group of people floating in the “Playpen” on Lake Michigan, seriously injuring two women in the process. NBC 5’s Natalie Martinez has the story.
As the captain maneuvered the drifting boat, he ran onto a floating raft with two women on it, according to Illinois Conservation Police.
Cellphone video, shot by NBC 5 viewer Justin Jachimiec, shows the boat backing into a floating raft, where eight people were enjoying a day on the water.
“He just kept going until he crashed into that lily pad and that boat,” Widen said. “I thought they were friends, and I thought they were just backing off to draw back-to-back. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Lake Michigan.
According to Art Pashnik of the Chicago Police Department’s Marnie Unit, “There were six to eight people on the flotation raft. While they were on this raft, another boat rolled over on top of them, sucking them in just below the boat. »
Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident and it is not known at this time if any charges will be brought.
The Coast Guard said it was particularly interested in speaking to passengers who were on board La Aquavida at the time, or anyone who may have videos of the incident.
Witnesses can make anonymous reports through the Coast Guard Investigation Service Tips website.