Footage shows Coast Guard rescuing windsurfer who called in distress

Image Credit: NBC
Image Credit: NBC

LAKE MICHIGAN (NBC Chicago) — Dramatic helicopter video captured a windsurfer’s Lake Michigan rescue after he called a friend saying he was in distress.

Coast Guard boats were seen searching the waters around 4:30 p.m. after they received a call that a windsurfer was “in distress” a mile off Lee St. Beach.

“I think his sail just broke and he couldn’t get it back up so he just started drifting with waves out there,” said Coast Guard rescuer Brendan Smith.

Authorities said a windsurfer had a cell phone and called a friend saying he was in distress and to call 911.

NBC’s Sky 5 chopper helped authorities spot the windsurfer and captured the rescue live on camera.

“It was really hard for the waves, to see him, but we did,” said rescuer Michael Desormeaux. “Half to three-quarters of a mile out, whoever was talking to him on the phone told him wave.”

Officials said the waves were at about three to fight feet, making rescuing conditions more difficult.

The windsurfer was located about a mile off the beach around 5:35 p.m. Officials said he was not injured.

“He said he was a little seasick but that’s all.”

Authorities are crediting the cell phone and Sky 5 with aiding their rescue.

“You can have the best equipment, but it’s still subject to being destroyed or broken,” Desormeaux said.