August 7, 2010 by staff 

Intervention, A fishing trip on Lake Michigan became a mission to save lives Friday morning when three suburban men rescued two young women who were floating in the water for more than five hours.

Tragically, the body of a man, James Shepherd, 21, of the 400 block of East Randolph, was found in the lake, and went looking for another man.

The four jumped from a sailboat without support, who left sometime between 1 and 1:30 am at the harbor, near Randolph Street, authorities said.

“Devastating is the word for it,” said the grandfather of Pastor, Eugene Stunard. “It was a great kid. This leaves a hole in his heart.”

The small boat was sailing a boat of the family “family members, including their grandchildren, use in the lake, Stunard said. His grandson just completed two summer courses at the University of Illinois at Chicago, taking his final exam last Thursday morning, he said.

“He was relieved them over,” said Stunard.

The women were rescued by fishermen and two friends Bill Duran Burnham cruise port near Soldier Field around 6:30 am

Duran, 58, of Mokena, was piloting his boat 31 feet long, called On the Edge, when he saw a woman waving a mile east of the port.

“I’m always looking for debris in the harbor,” he said. “This is how I saw it. However, a fraction of a second would not have been there.”

She said: “Please help me,” said Dr. Chad Wasson of Naperville, who was also on board of Duran.

Wasson, 37, and a third fisherman, Frank Zanocco, 66, of Orland Park, threw a lifeline to the woman and pulled her to safety. She was taken below deck, where Wasson check your vital signs and determined he was suffering from hypothermia.

Duran said she contacted rescue workers and scanned the horizon for the survivors. He saw the second woman to about 1,000 meters southwest of the former.

“We saw it floating. She was worse than the first. She could not move,” he said. “To find the second girl was incredible. It was like a needle in a haystack.”

Wasson believes the second woman would have drowned in another five to 10 minutes. Think about the first woman was stronger and could have survived another half hour.

Both women were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where they were in stable condition. One of them showed signs of pneumonia, officials said.

Pastor body was found about 9:30 am near half a mile east of Soldier Field. Rescue teams continued searching for the fourth man.

There is no indication alcohol was involved, said Sgt. Jim Van Vranken Chicago Police Marine Unit.

“It was young people to have a pleasant evening in the lake,” he said. “Apparently they did not realize the boat was not going to stay with them.”

Van Vranken said he was surprised the women could stay afloat for five hours or more without a lifejacket or flotation device in 65-degree water.

“We have people in this unit who swim for a living, that’s what they do,” he said. “And it would be even harder for them.”

Wasson said he was late to arrive at the pier on Friday morning. Instead of leaving before dawn, fishermen left after dawn.

“I’ve never seen in the darkness,” said Wasson.

“It makes you take a look to divine intervention,” he said. “I do not know how on earth did those girls all night. I can not believe we saw them. She said much later, but were grateful.”

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