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Chicago River Tour Boat To The Rescue As Two Kayakers, Dog Saved From Chilly Water

People on the tour boat threw a life ring to save one kayaker. The Coast Guard saved another

A Shoreline Sightseeing boat helped rescue two people after their kayak overturned in the Chicago River. [Chicago Fire Department/Twitter]

SOUTH LOOP — A tour boat helped rescue two kayakers and dogs when their boat overturned in the water Wednesday.

About 1:30 p.m., the two kayakers and a dog were in the Chicago River near Roosevelt Road when the kayak rolled over and they went into the water, said Larry Langford, a Chicago Fire spokesman.

People in the tour boat — the Evening Star from Shoreline Sightseeing — saw the kayakers and called for help over the radio and by calling 911, Langford said. Someone on the tour boat also threw a life ring to the kayakers.

“They were in the water, screaming for help,” said Chip Collopy, president of Shoreline Sightseeing. “They did an excellent job getting the people out of the water and onto the boat.”

The tour boat was able to pull one person from the water, and the second kayaker was pulled in by the Coast Guard, Langford said. The dog was also rescued, Collopy said.

The two kayakers were checked out by Fire Department officials but refused treatment, Langford said. They left and their kayak was found and is being returned to the place it was rented from.

“Everybody had life jackets on, which is excellent,” Langford said.

Collopy said Shoreline boats have had to rescue three people from the water in the last four days. They typically pull 40 people from the water every summer, he said.

Kayaking in the river has grown “exponentially” since 2002, and traffic on the city’s waterways is a concern, said Michelle Woods, the city’s project manager for concessions on the Riverwalk and Downtown Docks.