Illinois man dies while trying to save girl in Lake Michigan

Authorities say an Illinois man died while trying to save an 11-year-old girl in Lake Michigan Thursday. (Photo: Pixabay / License Link)

CHICAGO (AP) - Authorities are warning that Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago will continue to have dangerous waves, a day after a man apparently drowned while trying to save an 11-year-old girl.

The girl was swept off a break wall Thursday on Chicago's South Side and screamed for help. Witnesses say Rene Padilla of Blue Island jumped in to grab her but was overwhelmed by waves.

Lifeguards rescued the girl but Padilla died, despite efforts to revive him. Richard Betz and his wife called 911. He says, "It was one of the worst things I ever saw in my life."

The National Weather Service says waves could be as high as 6 feet (1.8 meters) through early Friday evening. The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project says more than 30 people have drowned in Lake Michigan in Illinois and other states.