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River North, Gold Coast, Near North Side

Body Of Boater Who Went Missing From ‘Playpen’ Wednesday Found

Spencer Williams, 29, was pulled from the water Saturday near Oak Street Beach. He is at least the third person who has died in Lake Michigan in the past week.

Spencer Williams.
GoFundMe
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GOLD COAST — The body of a 29-year-old man who went missing in the Playpen area of Lake Michigan was found Saturday, police said.

The man was identified as Spencer Williams, 29, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. His body was found 5:08 p.m. Saturday in the water near the 1000 block of North DuSable Lake Shore Drive during the Air and Water Show, officials said.

A recreational boater in the “Playpen” area spotted Williams’ body Saturday afternoon, a Coast Guard spokesperson said.

Police officers pulled Williams from the water, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, a spokesperson said.

Williams’ family has set up a GoFundMe for his funeral expenses and his son’s future. You can donate here.

“Spencer Williams was a son, a brother, a father, an uncle and a friend,” the GoFundMe organizer wrote. “Spencer lived to support his son, Spencer, Jr (fat fat), and handle his obligations and responsibilities. He had a love of life and spent time with his friends and family in his time away from work.”

Williams went missing Wednesday evening near the 600 block of East Grand Avenue when he and another person fell off a boat, police said. The other person was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition. No updates to their condition were immediately available.

Williams is at least the third person to have died in Lake Michigan in the past week as droves of boaters and swimmers flock to the lakefront for the end of the summer season.

Luis Alberto Davila drowned early Wednesday morning when he went into the water with several other people and did not resurface, police said. Davila, 43, was a beloved member of Chicago’s restaurant and bar scene and a talented mixologist, his friends said. Loved ones and strangers quickly raised more than $35,000 for his funeral expenses.

Police also pulled the body of a 38-year-old man from the water at Montrose Harbor about 12:20 a.m. Thursday. He was pronounced dead at Weiss Hospital, police said. More details were not immediately available.

The Playpen, where Williams went missing, is a popular no-wake boating spot that often sees dozens of vessels raft up between Navy Pier to the north and Oak Street Beach to the west. 

Lana Batochir was critically injured and nearly drowned Aug. 13 after a boat reversed into her inflatable raft and the propeller hit her. Batochir’s lower legs were severed in the accident.

Batochir, a mother of two, is hoping to raise $250,000 as she undergoes amputations, more surgery, a prolonged hospital stay, rehabilitation and physical therapy. Supporters have donated more than $170,000 to help with her medical expenses. Another woman with Batochir suffered serious injuries to her hand.

Police and other public safety officials held a press conference Thursday, urging boaters, swimmers and kayakers to be careful on the water.

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