An afternoon for a group enjoying a float out on Lake Michigan this weekend turned dangerous after a boat backed into their raft in the lake’s “Playpen” area, severely injured two women, 28 and 34, in the process.
According to authorities, one sustained injuries to her hand, and another had both of her feet severed due to the collision.
“It was strange to see someone backing up,” Ted Widen, an AMP Boat representative who was out on the lake, said. You know people are swimming everywhere. It’s a dangerous thing, and you know nothing good is going to come of it.”
At approximately 5 pm, Saturday, the Chicago Fire Department was called to an area known as “The Playpen,” north of Navy Pier, about an incident involving a vessel called La Aquavida and a 33-foot vessel stationed in the anchorage area.
authorities revealed a licensed captain tried to anchor the rental boat he was operating, and the anchor device malfunctioned. After that, the boat began to drift.
New cell phone video shows the harrowing moment when a boat backed into a group of people who were floating in the “Playpen” on Lake Michigan, severely injuring two women in the process. NBC 5’s Natalie Martinez has the story.
As the captain was maneuvering the drifting boat, he ran over a floating raft with two women on it, according to the Illinois Conservation Police.
Cell phone 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 up to do a back-to-back tie-up. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Lake Michigan.”
According to Art Pachnik of the Chicago Police Department’s Marnie Unit, “there were six-to-eight individuals on the flotation raft. While they were on that raft, another boat reversed into them, sucking them right underneath he 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 whether any charges will be filed.
The Coast Guard said it’s particularly interested in talking with passengers who were aboard the La Aquavida at the time, or anyone who may have videos of the incident.
Witnesses can make an anonymous reports through the Coast Guard Investigative Service Tips website.