Rescue crews searched the waters off Lee Street Beach this evening after a 911 caller reported seeing a swimmer in distress.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber says the call came from a woman walking along the shoreline who saw what appeared to be a swimmer in distress off shore from the park building at 1111 Lake Shore Boulevard.

After looking away for a moment, she didn’t see the swimmer again and called for help.

Top: Firefighters search the beach as the Coast Guard boat searches the water. Above: Residents watch the search action from the lakefront path.

The call brought fire and ambulance units from Evanston, Skokie and Wilmette to the scene including a water rescue dive team that waded into the water.

A Coast Guard boat from Wilmette harbor also joined in the search along with a Chicago Fire Department helicopter.

With the wind and waves blowing in toward shore, Klaiber said, he believed the swimmer would have been pushed toward the shore north of the breakwater at Lee Street.

But the crew of the the Coast Guard boat reported that they’d seen a swimmer leave the water near the park building as they arrived at the scene, and after about a half hour without finding anything, the search was called off.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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