Man, 44, drowns in Gages Lake
Divers from fire departments around Lake County head out to search Gages Lake on Tuesday morning for a missing 44-year-old man who was later found dead. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 19, 2012 1:59AM
WILDWOOD — The body of a man who went swimming with a friend was recovered from Gages Lakes on Tuesday afternoon.
The identity of the 44-year-old man was not released by the Lake County Coroner’s Office or the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at press time. On Tuesday night, authorities were notifying family members.
The incident began Monday night around 9:30 p.m. when sheriff’s dispatch received a call of a man swimming to shore looking for his friend in the water.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived at 33319 N. Sears Blvd., which is near Willow Point Beach and Rule Park, on Gages Lake, the man had exited the water and left the area. A pontoon boat was found adrift.
Grayslake Fire Department personnel searched the area and deputies tried to find the swimmer. At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, they received a missing person report for the 44-year-old male.
The search was suspended and started again early Tuesday morning with the Lake and McHenry County Special Response Team that has special sonar equipment for underwater searches.
The dead man’s friend said the two had been out in the boat all day and decided to go for a swim when high winds caused the pontoon boat, which did not have its anchor deployed, to drift away, said Grayslake Fire Chief John Christian.
The man told sheriff’s deputies they both tried to swim ashore and when the survivor got out of the water he looked back and didn’t see his friend. He was able to point out where he last saw his friend.
Divers from numerous departments, over two dozen in all because they can only make so many dives in a day per regulations, spent most of Tuesday near the deepest part of Gages Lake, which is about 55 feet deep. Christian said they found the body at 3:20 p.m. in about 40 feet of water.
“At 40 feet there is zero visibility and the more divers you have in the water, the more silt is stirred up,” he said.
The drowning was the second in the county this year. A man drowned at Adeline J. Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park near Zion in late May.