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Illinois man dies while trying to save girl in Lake Michigan

Officials are looking at whether choppy water and undercurrents, or a wave from a passing boat, contributed to the deaths of the youngsters who were with their parents. (Photo: Pixabay)
Officials are looking at whether choppy water and undercurrents, or a wave from a passing boat, contributed to the deaths of the youngsters who were with their parents. (Photo: Pixabay)(KOSA)
Published: Aug. 23, 2019 at 9:35 AM EDT
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Authorities are warning that Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago will continue to have dangerous waves, a day after a man apparently drowned while trying to save an 11-year-old girl.

The girl was swept off a break wall Thursday on Chicago's South Side and screamed for help. Witnesses say Rene Padilla of Blue Island jumped in to grab her but was overwhelmed by waves.

Lifeguards rescued the girl but Padilla died, despite efforts to revive him. Richard Betz and his wife called 911. He says, "It was one of the worst things I ever saw in my life."

The National Weather Service says waves could be as high as 6 feet through early Friday evening. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says more than 30 people have drowned in Lake Michigan in Illinois and other states.

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