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Body of missing boater found in Monroe Harbor

Divers found Ameera Muhammad dead in the south end of the harbor within an hour of resuming the search 8:15 a.m. Wednesday in Lake Michigan, authorities said.

The Chicago Fire Department searches for a missing woman in Lake Michigan near Shedd Aquarium, Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
The Chicago Fire Department searches for a missing woman in Lake Michigan near Shedd Aquarium, Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The body of a 24-year-old woman was pulled from Lake Michigan Wednesday morning after she lost contact with her boat while swimming in Monroe Harbor.

The search began about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday when a boat struck the break wall as the boaters were out swimming near the Museum Campus, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt.

At least three other boaters returned to the boat, but the 24-year-old remained missing, according to Merritt, who said bad weather may have been a factor in her disappearance. Initial information about the woman being knocked off the boat was incorrect, he said.

Divers searched the waters into the early morning, but temporarily suspended the search due to the weather, Merritt said. Divers were using sonar when they found her about 9 a.m. Wednesday in the south end of the harbor, less than an hour after resuming the search, Chicago police said.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified her as Ameera Muhammad of Bronzeville.

Merritt said she wasn’t wearing a life jacket — a device he said could have prevented the tragedy.

“Every single passenger must have on a personal floatation device,” Merritt said. “We understand people are going to enjoy the weather and the lake, but we need to do it safely.”

On Monday evening, another boat crashed into a break wall farther north near the water filtration plant. The marine unit rescued four people who fell overboard and towed the boat to shore.

Monday afternoon, a swimmer was in critical condition after being rescued from Lake Michigan near the Loop.

So far this year, at least 13 other people have drowned in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. In 2019, a total of 48 people drowned in Lake Michigan.