A man clocked out of his Chicago Fire Department (CFD) shift for a swim in Lake Michigan that took a fatal turn, WLS reported Sunday.
Wilbert Hayes, a 14-year CFD veteran, decided to visit the 31st Street Beach with his family Sunday morning, according to WLS.
CFD Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said Hayes went underwater while swimming at around half past seven in the morning, according to CBS.
Nance-Holt said authorities “quickly responded and located him underwater, but despite advanced care of our own paramedics and the medical team at the University of Chicago, he passed away.”
“The loss of any of our members is a loss for the first responder community and the city as a whole,” Nance-Holt concluded.
CFD Engineer/EMT Wilbert Hayes April 18 1980 – July 30 2023 pic.twitter.com/v7wUb629ti
— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) July 31, 2023
Causal factors in the incident remain unidentified. Twenty people have already drowned in Lake Michigan alone so far in 2023, WLS reported. Another man named Rayan Mohammed also drowned while swimming in Lake Michigan near Gary, Indiana, ABC7 Chicago reported. The cause of that death is also unclear.
Bob Pratt of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project told the outlet many victims “had loved ones with them at the beach when they had the fatal drowning.” (RELATED: Video Shows Florida Deputy Pulled Beneath Floodwaters During Rescue Of Drowning Man)
A swim ban was in place at the beach following the tragedy with red flags raised, according to CBS.