CHICAGO - The search for a missing teenager last seen jumping into Lake Michigan with friends is now a recovery mission.
Experts are warning people to be extra cautious before going into the lake. High water levels, nasty rip currents and waves of up to 13-feet have the Chicago Fire Department imploring people to stay out of the water.
On Monday afternoon off Diversey Harbor, a 15-year old boy jumped in with three friends and never made it out. Search efforts had to be called off because of the hazardous conditions.
“This year we have higher water levels, beach erosion, and it's going to have more hazards,” said Dave Benjamin of Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
With beaches closed because of the pandemic, drowning prevention advocates say the rest of the Chicago lakefront needs safety equipment.
“We need life rings along this trail which thousands of people are going to every single day. And a $50 dollar throw-ring could have been the difference between life and death,” Benjamin said.
He offers this tip to anyone who may find themselves struggling in dangerous water:
“We want you to roll over, get your chest up to the water, get your mouth up high, get some deep inhalations, fill your lungs up with some air, it's going to make you more buoyant, it's going to calm you down from your panic attack while you're in the water,” Benjamin said. “And then follow a safe path out of the water.”
A lakefront flood advisory and small craft advisory is in effect from southern Wisconsin through Illinois, all the way to the Michigan shoreline. It remains in effect until 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.