Fire crews from Evanston and several surrounding communities were searching Saturday afternoon for a swimmer missing off the breakwater at the Church Street boat ramp.

The search for the swimmer was launched shortly after 2 p.m. — just as crews were completing the rescue of three boaters who’d been in distress in the water — an incident that was first reported shortly before 1 p.m.

Those three people have all been transported to Evanston Hospital.

Two divers discussing the search with other rescue workers at the boat ramp.

The swimmer — based on surveillance video of the scene viewed after his disappearance was reported — apparently went into the water sometime around 12:50 p.m., entering from the rocks on the north breakwater of the Church Street boat ramp.

Divers suiting up at the lakefront. (Jeff Hirsh photo)

He swam for a while, but the video showed that he then went under the water’s surface and didn’t come back up. Heavy wave action has made the search difficult.

A Chicago Fire Department helicopter joined the search.

Fire crews from a large number of departments — including at least 13 divers, some from as far away as Schaumburg — have responded to the scene along with a Coast Guard unit, Chicago Fire Department helicopter and a drone from one of the responding departments.

A boat from Glencoe’s Public Safety Department joins the array of vehicles at the search scene.

The search for the swimmer had begun after some clothing containing his identification was found along the shore.

An Evanston lifeguard boat participating in the search.

Update 7:10 p.m.: The search transitioned to a recovery operation about 4:30 p.m.

Firefighters on WaveRunners search for the swimmer.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.