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One dead in Lake Michigan boating accident

A weekend boating accident on Lake Michigan left a woman dead and a man in critical condition.

Two other people are still missing after the accident, which occurred Saturday night, WLS-TV in Chicago reported.

An intense search by fire and police boats started Sunday morning when the man was rescued. That search ended late Sunday evening. The captain of a fishing boat first spotted him.

“He yelled for help, we threw a life ring to him and we brought him into the boat,” said Joel Reiser.

The boat was heading from New Buffalo Michigan to Burnham Harbor near the Museum Campus. It got into trouble seven miles east of the 31st Street Beach. Rescue crews continue to search for the two people still missing. The man recovered remained in the hospital Sunday evening in critical condition.

Fishing boat captain Joel Reiser talked about how he rescued a man from the Lake Michigan a day after the man’s boat capsized. It happened around 6 o’clock Sunday morning in the water near 31st Harbor. Reiser says his charter was about six miles off shore.

“We spotted something orange thought it was a kayak. We slowed up the boat, we looked around and we actually saw someone’s head,” Reiser said.

He threw the man a life preserver, pulled him onto the boat and immediately called for help. The man had been in the 60-degree water for nearly 12 hours.

It’s believed the man, one of four on the boat, left from Burnham Harbor and traveled in a 33-foot cabin cruiser to New Buffalo, Michigan and was returning Saturday night when something went wrong.

“Apparently the boat caught on fire, it was heavily involved in smoke, it was taking on water and the boat was sinking and they also said the VHF didn’t work,” said Reiser.

The man, who was suffering from hypothermia, was taken to Mercy Hospital in critical condition.

About two hours later, search crews found a second victim, a woman in her late 20s.

She died at the hospital.

“Boats that size typically have marine radios, but if they had some sort of power failure, catastrophic event on the boat, they could maybe not be able to make a distress call,” said Coast Guard Officer Mark Stevenson.

The Coast Guard suspended the search Sunday night for two people in Lake Michigan about 7 miles off shore from the 31st Street Marina in Chicago. Still missing are a 30-year-old male and a 27-year-old female.