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updated: 6/9/2014 10:20 AM

Man drowns in Pistakee Lake

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Daily Herald staff report

A 49-year-old man died Sunday afternoon while swimming in Pistakee Lake in Johnsburg after he and his friends were separated by extreme winds, according to a news release issued by the McHenry Township Fire Protection District Sunday night.

The victim, who is not being identified by authorities until they inform his family, and two other men were boating on rough waters in the afternoon. The victim and another man decided to swim in the water and jump off the boat while it was not anchored. In the rough winds, the boat began to drift away.

The man who remained on the boat was not able to get the boat started. The two swimmers tried to swim to the boat. One man made it, but the victim was nowhere to be seen.

At 3:48 p.m. rescue crews, including around 20 divers, were called in to search for the victim.

Just as rescuers were about to dive into the water with their SCUBA gear, the man bobbed up to the surface of the water. The victim was unconscious and unresponsive.

The two rescuers closest to the victim leaned out of their boat to grab him. A wave struck the boat and, within seconds, the rescuers' 16-foot boat capsized. No one was injured and other nearby rescue crews were able to pull the two men and the victim from the waters.

The victim was pulled out of the water at 4:32 p.m. around 45 minutes after his friends originally lost sight of him.

He was taken to Centegra Hospital in McHenry where he was pronounced dead at 5:05 p.m.

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