A 7-year-old Chicago boy drowned in Lake Michigan Thursday, according to Indiana conservation officers.
Additional information on the boy’s identity is being withheld pending proper family notifications, officials said.
The boy was reported missing in the water near the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Beach at 4:50 p.m. and was pulled from the water by emergency responders near Ogden Dunes at 5:11 p.m., officials said.
He was taken to Northwest Health-Portage hospital where he was later pronounced dead. An autopsy ruled the death due to accidental drowning.
Witnesses told investigators the boy was playing in waist-deep water before entering deeper water, apparently caught in a current that pulled him from shore. A family member attempted a rescue but also got caught in a current and lost sight of the boy.
According to statistics maintained by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, the boy’s death marks the seventh drowning in Lake Michigan and the 16th in the Great Lakes overall in 2023. More than 100 people have drowned annually in the Great Lakes in four of the past five years.
A beach hazard statement was in effect Thursday and remains in effect Friday for Lake Michigan’s Illinois and Indiana shorelines.
Life-threatening waves and currents will continue through this AM along the IL lakeshore and through this PM along the IN lakeshore. Stay dry when waves are high! Visit our beach forecast page at: https://t.co/MkqeYnHi0y for details. #ILwx #INwx pic.twitter.com/WCq6HZhA0L
— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) June 16, 2023