Windsurfer rescued after calling 911 while out on lake


Colin Boyle/The Daily Northwestern

An official looks off a pier into Lake Michigan during the efforts to rescue a windsurfer on Monday afternoon. The man was rescued after a search of roughly one hour.

Nora Shelly, City Editor

A windsurfer who called 911 in distress has been rescued.

Evanston Fire Department officers and the U.S. Coast Guard had been out searching for the windsurfer on Lake Michigan off Lee Street beach, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said. He had no visible injuries.
According to an EFD news release, the man called in at about 4:30 p.m. and was rescued about an hour later.

The windsurfer called in after he realized his sail had become disabled in the high winds, Evanston Police Department Chief Richard Eddington said.

EFD then dispatched crews to the lakefront and began searching for the man on their waverunners. It quickly became apparent the waverunners would not be enough to conduct an extensive search, Eddington said.

At that time the Chicago Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard were called in for assistance, Eddington said. The windsurfer was located, pulled onto the Coast Guard boat and taken to Wilmette Harbor, Eddington said.

Eddington cautioned people looking to windsurf on the lake.

“You have to be extremely respectful of the lake, especially during high wind conditions,” he said. “You put other people in danger when you take risks out on the water.”

Kirill Przhebilsky, of Wheeling, IL, said he was windsurfing with a few friends and the man who was rescued when he became distressed.

Przhebilsky said he didn’t see anything happen with the rescued man.

“He just went out really far. He’s actually really experienced,” he said. “The funny thing about this whole thing is that he goes to these (other) really crazy places … nothing ever happens. But every single time he goes to this lake, something breaks for him.”

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Twitter: @noracshelly