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Man Sues Rental Company After Fatal Boating Accident

CHICAGO (STMW) -- A survivor of a late May boating accident on Lake Michigan that killed at least two people is suing the company that rented the group the 33-foot motorboat that caught fire miles from shore.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court against Sail Time Chicago, alleges that maintenance performed on the boat prior to the group renting it was the cause of the fire.

Three days before the group of four rented the boat, "a battery or electrical problem" occurred, the suit stated. The same day, Sail Time Chicago worked to repair the problem. On May 31, while miles off the shore, the boat caught fire. By 8 p.m., it had sank, the Sun-Times reported.

The four had rented the boat with plans to sail across Lake Michigan from New Buffalo, Mich. to Chicago.

Two people, 26-year-old Chicago attorney Ashley Haws and another woman in her 20s who has not yet been identified, died as a result of the boat fire and subsequent sinking, authorities said. The fourth person on the boat, 30-year-old Orest Sopka, is still missing.

Haws' cause of death was hypothermia, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office ruled. The other woman drowned.

The two-count suit allleges negligence and is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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