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City Takes Precautions After High Waves, Dangerous Lake Conditions

CHICAGO (CBS)-- Two men had to be rescued after they were hit by a wave and swept into the water while fishing.

This was one of several rescues this past weekend in Chicago and in northwest Indiana.

The force of the waves, some 8-feet high, crashing along the shoreline is one of the factors leading to precautions by the city.

The conditions were dangerous enough to shut down portions of the pathway along the lake.

While some ignored the posted warnings, it's forcing others like Erin Feit to take a less scenic detour.

"I wanted to stay along the water all the way to Navy Pier," Feit said. "It looks frowned upon based on how high the waves are right now."

"I mean it could pull you out if it gets too big," another individual walking the path said.

Conditions like these are blamed for the drowning death of 31-year-old Jose Rubio. His body was pulled from the Lake Saturday about two miles east of Diversey Harbor

Twenty have drowned in Lake Michigan so far this year.

Rescue workers said there are more water incidents so far in 2019 than during the same time frame in years past.

Those rescues and recovery efforts are proving costly, not only in lives lost but in taxpayer money spent.

A report given to aldermen in April estimated ,"A single drowning event on the Great Lakes necessitating coast guard deployment can cost $27,000/hour."

That's not including ground resources and ambulance costs.

"Man overboard is our biggest concern and whenever you got big huge waves like this it's hard to see the people when they go down in the toughs," sailing instructor Jeff Harris said.

He is keeping his boat and crews safely stowed.

"One of the things I look at as well is to see if there's any other sailboats out there, if you don't see any that's a huge tell-tale," Harris said.

Experts said the high lake levels are also playing a role in some of the incidents seen on the lake over the past several days.

First responders said swimmers need to use extreme caution.


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