Authorities ID boater pulled from Lake Michigan

Associated Press
Updated 6/2/2014 7:43 PM

The Cook County medical examiner's office has identified a woman who died after a weekend boating accident on Lake Michigan.

Ashley Haws, 26, of Chicago was pulled out of the water Sunday morning. She was pronounced dead at an area hospital.


Authorities say Haws was one of four people who had to jump from a 30-foot boat Saturday night. On Sunday morning, a fisherman pulled a man out of the water, and Haws was pulled out of the water two hours later.

The man, whose name hasn't been released, told authorities that the boat caught fire Saturday night. He remained hospitalized on Monday.

Two other people -- a 30-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman -- remain missing and are presumed dead.

"The Coast Guard searches for people we believe are alive and with the temperatures out there, the equipment they had ... we don't believe they survived," Coast Guard spokesman Levi Read said.

The discovery of the man triggered a massive search covering approximately 1,600 square miles that involved boats, at least one plane and a helicopter, Read said. The search was suspended Sunday night.

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The rescued man was confused due to severe hypothermia and gave a number of accounts of what happened, how many people were on board and where they were headed. As a result, rescuers initially thought they were looking for five or six people, Read said.

But as the man warmed up and became more coherent, he told authorities that four people were on the boat when it caught fire Saturday night, forcing them to jump in the water. He had said the boat was sailing from Chicago to New Buffalo, Michigan, but then the man's account changed and he said it was heading from New Buffalo to Chicago, Read said.

Still unanswered, though, is why the people on board did not place a distress call on the radio that was presumably on the boat or attempt to signal other boaters that they were in trouble.

"The Coast Guard heard nothing on the radio, no flares were seen during the night," said Larry Langford, spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department, which participated in the search.

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