Boy Drowns After Boat Capsizes in Chicago River, Despite Wearing Life Jacket

A 7-year-old boy died on Wednesday after being trapped under a small boat that capsized in the Chicago River around 7 p.m. local time. The incident took place on the 1500 block of South Lumber Street in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood, police confirmed.

Chicago Fire Department Chief Patrick Maloney told ABC7 Chicago: "The helicopter divers that went into the water were able to retrieve the one child that was underneath the capsized boat."

The boy was in critical condition and taken to Chicago's Mercy Hospital and Medical Center where he later died of an apparent drowning.

Initial reports indicated the boy was wearing a life vest at the time.

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Police believe the incident was accidental.

The boy was identified to be Victor Lobato and a resident of the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.

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Maloney told ABC7 Chicago: "There was over nine people in the boat. It was a small craft, kind of pretty packed up as far as water safety."

The boat was said to have capsized after a cargo vessel passed by it, police noted. The boat drifted three blocks down to 18th Street before first responders were able to rescue the people who were on the smaller vessel.

Five others, three adults and two other children, were taken to local hospitals. They are in fair to critical condition.

Three passengers were reported to have refused medical treatment, officials said.

The area of the river where the boat capsized was reported to be around 20 to 30 feet deep. The latest incident was said to be either the fourth or fifth incident involving water rescues this week. Fire officials emphasized that everyone aboard a boat should wear life jackets, especially children.

Chicago River, tour boat, Illinois, June 2012
A boat full of tourists sails along the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois, on June 16, 2012. Getty Images
Boy Drowns After Boat Capsizes in Chicago River, Despite Wearing Life Jacket | News