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Missing swimmer found dead in Lake Michigan

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Local fire department dive team members get geared up before heading out in a search for the body of a missing swimmer off the shore of Clark St. Beach in Evanston on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)

Emergency crews near Clark Street Beach in Evanston found the body of a 20-year-old male swimmer who went missing Saturday evening in Lake Michigan after a seven-hour search. His body was found after three other people were saved in an earlier rescue.

While Evanston firefighters remained on the scene of the first emergency, they discovered unclaimed property of another swimmer, including shoes and clothing, and nearly 100 firefighters jumped in the water again, said Patrick Deignan, an Evanston spokesman.

The situation began about 12:55 p.m. when a 911 caller reported three people struggling in the water near Clark Street beach, Deignan said. They were found clinging to a breakwall.

“Fire responded and quickly pulled all three out — a mother, her minor daughter and a good Samaritan who tried to help them,’’ Deignan said. The good Samaritan is an adult male.

All three were taken to hospitals, including one who was in critical condition. The others were listed in good condition and Deignan said he did not know which one was badly injured.

About 2 p.m., crews who were still on the scene found “unclaimed belongings,” including identification, of another person who was near the beach, Deignan said.

Security camera footage showed that someone entered the lake, went underwater and did not resurface, according to the Evanston Fire Department.

A “second level MABAS dive box” was activated bringing in the assistance of many neighboring towns including dozens of firefighters, divers and rescue boats.

About 4:30 p.m., the mission turned into a “recovery,’’ Deignan said.

The man’s body was found about 9 p.m., according to the fire department.

“It’s sad,’’ Deignan said. “This time of year the water can be really unpredictable, even on a beautiful day.”

Clark Street Beach was closed on Labor Day.

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