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Search underway in Winnetka for missing swimmer in Lake Michigan

WINNETKA, Ill. — A search is underway Tuesday morning for a missing swimmer in Lake Michigan in Winnetka.

Emergency personnel have been at Elder Lane Beach for several hours searching for a man in his early 20s.

Fire officials received a call around 2:15 a.m. after three men went into the lake near the pier to go swimming. One of them was reportedly pulled under and has not yet resurfaced.

Winnetka Fire Chief John Ripka said crews started shore searches immediately after they got the call. Authorities attempted to launch a boat but the waves, estimated to be between six and eight-feet currently, have made it too dangerous to have a boat in the water.

Due to the high waves, divers have not been able to search the water either.

Ripka said they called in the US Coast Guard for assistance, which responded by boat.

After some challenges due to weather and winds, their helicopter is up and helping with the search operation.

Rescue crews are using rakes to search along the break walls and shore line, but crews are up against challenging conditions.

The National Weather Service has a Beach Hazards Statement in place. Waves are estimated to be between six and nine-feet high along Lake Michigan beaches through tonight.

The conditions are said to be life-threatening due to the strong currents and high waves.

Emergency crews are monitoring the situation and it is unclear whether the operation will be suspended at any point.

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