Woman saved after jumping into Chicago River--for a swim

A woman who is believed to have jumped into the Chicago River downtown for a swim was quickly rescued by the crew of a tour boat--in the middle of their annual Coast Guard inspection, officials said.

The woman was seen going into the Chicago River near Michigan Avenue about 11 a.m., and the crew of Chicago's Fair Lady saw her go in and called emergency crews on a marine radio channel, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. The ship's crew was able to rescue the woman before emergency crews arrived, Langford and police said.

The woman was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for evaluation, but was able to speak to officials after she was rescued, Langford said.

Alcohol was believed to have played a role in the woman's going into the water, officials said.

The crew was in the middle of its annual U.S. Coast Guard inspection when crew members spotted the woman sitting on a ledge next to the river, and then "decided to go for a swim," said Holly Agra, president of Chicago's First Lady, which operates the boat.

The woman was seen floating east toward the lake, near the bridge, calling for help, witnesses said.

So as the crew was qualifying for its Coast Guard certification, "Instead of rescuing a pretend person, they actually rescued a real person," Agra said.

The woman was overheard telling police: "Yes, I jumped in. I like to swim," according to a fire official.


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