Loon Lake drowning victim identified
The body of a 63-year-old man who went missing while swimming in Loon Lake last week has been recovered, officials from the Lake County sheriff's office said Monday.
Crews had been searching for the body of John Michalek of Berwyn since Thursday afternoon and discovered it at 10:42 a.m. Monday.
Lake County sheriff's office Chief Wayne Hunter said Michalek's body was spotted on side-scan sonar in a deep weed bed and recovered by the sonar team.
Michalek and a 69-year-old man were on a pontoon boat on the lake Thursday afternoon. Sometime after 1:15 p.m., the Michalek went for a swim.
Authorities said he struggled to get back on the boat and his friend jumped in to assist but also struggled to get back onboard. Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey said the pontoon floated away as the man was in the water.
A passing boater saw the men and was able to rescue the 69-year-old, but Michalek went under, authorities said.
Dive crews searched for nearly six hours Thursday and nine hours Friday in the lake near Route 83 and Grass Lake Road before calling off the efforts. Michalek was a teacher at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park for 35 years, according to a message on the high school's website.
The recovery comes a day after a 28-year-old Chicago man died while swimming. Lukasz Barabasz drowned in Deep Lake near Lake Villa while attempting to swim to shore from a boat Sunday.
Barabasz was with friends when he told them he was a good swimmer and was going to swim to shore, Hunter said Monday.
He never made it, Hunter said, and his body was found just outside a resort swimming area about 1:15 p.m.
Hunter said police are investigating whether alcohol was a factor.
Results of an autopsy performed Monday were consistent with an accidental drowning, but the coroner's office is awaiting toxicology results.
• Daily Herald staff writer Paul Biasco contributed to this report
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