Off-duty Chicago police officer rescues 2 from capsized jet ski in Lake Michigan

National News

CHICAGO (WGN) — A  Chicago police detective’s dramatic off-duty water rescue was caught on video Tuesday, serving in part as a reminder for everyone to stay safe as boating season officially opens this week.  

Sergeant Donovan Jackson was off on furlough when he saw rescue crews responding to reports of people in the waters near Jackson Harbor.

“Once you hear helicopters near the water…you know something was going on,” Jackson said.

Jackson stepped in to help without missing a beat, hopping on his wave runner and heading out into Lake Michigan. Two people were in the lake’s cold waters after their jet ski capsized near the harbor.

The pair were in the water for 10 minutes before Jackson was able to get to them, and hypothermia was starting to settle in. At one point he fell into the water himself while attempting to get them on board his own jet ski.

Luckily, everyone is okay and didn’t appear to need hospitalization, including an 11-year-old who was out on the water. Jackson has been with CPD for more than 20 years, and says he was at the right place at the right time and knew he could do something.

Chicago police Marine unit Sargeant Eddy Beltran said the incident is a reminder of what can happen on the water.

“The concern this year is the water levels are extremely high…a lot of the piers are partially submerged,” Beltran said,.

As temperatures rise, Beltran and the marine unit ask that people not go in the water unless they know there is a lifeguard present.  Also, they say always wear a life jacket when you’re out boating.

The Chicago Harbor Safety Committee has a website with some of the underwater hazards right now as well, a good resource if you’re headed out on a boat.

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