"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

8 Year Old Kid Dies After a Boat Capsized in the Chicago River


Last night on July 23, 2020, at about 7:00 pm there was an accident that was reported about a boat being flipped over and wrecked in the river at 1500 S. Lumber Street in an area hard for rescue crews to access near Chinatown in Chicago. Officials said that they had pulled 9 people up out of the water including a younger boy that was only 8 years old.

The boy was in critical condition and had to be rushed to the nearest hospital to them. A few hours later the young boy was reported dead due to drowning. The boy’s name was Victor Lobato,.He lived on the 3000 Block of South Homan Avenue on the West Side neighborhood in Little Village.

Chicago Fire Department Speaks Out

The CFD Deputy District Chief Carmelita Wiley-Earls said “If you were to look down the river the accessibility of where we actually found the victim versus where we retrieved everyone else. We’re talking almost three blocks downriver.” If the people were there then the police would have never known what happened and could have ended very differently. “Without the public’s input and without the public’s initially 911 sounding of the alarm then we would have a different outcome.”

According to the police, they said a bigger boat (like a Cargo of some sort) had possibly flipped the boat. Lobato and the others were told to have a life vest on. However, none of them had one on until they were rescued, according to the Fire Department people that helped them.

Life jackets are designed to keep you from drowning in the water, which seems like a great reason to wear one at all times on the water. Yet, millions of people out on boats will choose to go without. The thought that if the life jacket is in the boat itself you are safe isn’t good enough to actually keep you safe.

The Daily Passage of the Chicago River

Big cargo boats usually pass through the Chicago River on a daily basis that usually creates small waves as they go by. Authorities said a “small boat may have turned into one of those wakes, causing it to capsize and trapping 7-year-old Victor Lobato from the Little Village neighborhood, underneath.” The other 5 others were attempting to help the young boy but the waves kept pulling him under and away from them which caused him to drown.

One of the Chicago Fire Department chiefs Patrick Maloney said “The helicopter divers that went into the water were able to retrieve the one child that was underneath the capsized boat.” The five other people that were on the boat with Victor Lobato were taken to the University of Illinois Medical Center in good condition, according to fire officials and the other three people declined to be taken to hospital.

According to the Fire Department, In just this one week this has almost been the fourth or fifth incident involving water rescues which is a lot and could possibly get a lot worse throughout this waste of a year. Reiterated that everyone on board a boat should wear life jackets, especially children, and practice safe boating. The Fire officials also said, “regardless of social distancing regulations, all boaters should be mindful not to overload a boat as it increases the danger of that craft overturning.”

Extremely Sad Day in Chicago

In my opinion, I believe that if they all would have had a life vest on then the 8-year-old boy probably would have did the same and followed them.  Even if you think you could swim it just always smart to be safe. Lobato could have possibly still been alive today with no worries at all. Without the people that were there, the 5 other people might have been in the same spot as him. So next time when people decide to get on a boat without a life vest just remember that it could possibly save your life and maybe you should think differently because it might not work in your favor.


Written By Charles Lott

Edited by Sheena Robertson


Chicago Tribune: Boy dies after 9 people rescued when boat capsizes near South Loop

The World News: Boy dies after 9 people rescued when boat capsizes near South Loop

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Andrew Flickr page – Creative Commons

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