Woman killed, 6 rescued after boat hits breakwall near ‘Playpen’ off Oak Street Beach

A “boat distress” call was received at about 3 a.m. Friday during a burst of wind and high waves. The body of Briana Joy Burden, 20, of Dunning, was recovered several hours later.

SHARE Woman killed, 6 rescued after boat hits breakwall near ‘Playpen’ off Oak Street Beach
Marine units officers from the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department investigate the scene where a boat capsized early Friday near the “Playpen” in Lake Michigan.

Marine unit officers from the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department investigate the scene where a boat capsized early Friday near the “Playpen” in Lake Michigan.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A woman died, and six other people were rescued after a boat hit a breakwall early Friday near the “Playpen” off Oak Street Beach during a sharp burst of wind and high waves.

“About 3 a.m., we had a huge increase in wind and wave activity,” Deputy District Fire Chief Jason Lach said at a news briefing.

Wind gusts up to 30 miles an hour were recorded.

“It made rescue and recovery efforts a lot more difficult,’’ Lach said.

The boaters were returning to shore when the boat hit the breakwall off the 600-800 block of North DuSable Lake Shore Drive, according to Lach and Chicago Fire Chief Juan Hernandez.

Tucked in an enclave between Oak Street and Ohio Street beaches, the Playpen is a popular party spot for boaters on summer weekends in Chicago.

Briana Joy Burden, 20, became trapped under the boat and did not survive, officials said.

Police pulled Burden’s body from the water several hours after the crash.

An autopsy was scheduled for Saturday for Burden, who lives the 6100 block of West Waveland Avenue in Dunning.

Six others were rescued, including one person who swam to shore.

A 22-year-old woman, a 31-year-old woman, a 38-year-old man and a 40-year-old man were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and a 38-year-old man and a 40-year-old man were taken to Stroger Hospital, all in good condition, police said.

Police divers initially weren’t able to recover the woman’s body because of dangerous conditions, including high waves, a marine officer said. Divers spotted her pinned under the 31-foot craft, about 200 yards “due northeast of the Jardine Water Plant,” the marine officer said.

While crews were responding to incident, the badly decomposed body of a man was spotted near Navy Pier.

“A fisherman called about 8:30 a.m.,” the officer said.

The body was pulled from the lake near Dime Pier between the Chicago locks and Navy Pier.

“It was definitely not from this incident because of the time and travel from where it was,” and because of its condition, Lach said.

“Anybody operating a boat, you need to know your navigational hazards,” he said. “Make sure you have life preservers on board for everybody.”

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