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Dangerous conditions hamper search of missing teen in Lake Michigan

An airboat equipped with side sonar scan technology searches for the missing boy on Monday | Photo by Tim Olk.

The search for the missing 16-year-old who jumped into Lake Michigan near Waukegan last week to save his friend continues, but fire officials said that search efforts are being hampered due to dangerous weather conditions.

Waukegan Fire Marshal Steven Lenzi said that three teen boys were walking along the pier near Stiner Pavilion, 201 East Sea Horse Drive in Waukegan, on Friday around 4:30 p.m. when one of them slipped into Lake Michigan.

Lenzi said that a second 16-year-old boy then went in to the water to try and save his friend. A third boy in the group called 911 while the two others struggled in the water.

An airboat equipped with side sonar scan technology searches for the missing boy on Monday | Photo by Tim Olk.

Police were able to rescue the boy who originally slipped into the water and paramedics transported him to an area hospital in unknown condition. Divers were unable to locate the other boy in the water.

Since Friday, search efforts have been hampered by the weather conditions.

“The extremely cold temperatures and winds that have shifted to be coming from the southeast, now created a new dangerous hazard for crews as the entire Waukegan Shoreline has been filled in with pack ice,” Lenzi said on Tuesday.

“Boats are not able to make entry into this type of conditions to operate any of the sonar equipment. The pack ice also creates a dangerous situation that will not allow any type of dive
operations either due to its unstable nature,” he added.

Fire officials said they have explored all options and determined it is not safe to perform any sort of recovery operations until conditions change.

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