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Body found on beach ID’d as man missing since May

Updated: September 1, 2014 7:59AM



A man pulled from Lake Michigan near Whiting on Monday has been identified as a Chicago trader missing since a May boating accident that killed two other people.

Orest Sopka, 30, of Chicago, was pulled from the lake near Whiting Beach a few minutes before 8 p.m. Monday, officials said.

The Lake County Coroner’s office confirmed his identity through medical records from a previous surgery, the office said in a statement. Results of a Wednesday autopsy were not immediately released.

Sopka was one of four people on board a 33-foot cabin cruiser that sank several miles off the coast of Chicago the night of May 31, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported.

The group of four passengers traveled from Burnham Harbor to New Buffalo, Michigan, and were returning to Chicago when the engine began to smoke and caught fire, police said at the time.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Brian Dykens said an alarm panel on the boat “started going off” and the engine shut down. Power was lost, and the radio and bilge pump both failed, police said.

The lone survivor of the crash, a 29-year-old man, was found wrapped in life preservers about 12 hours after the boat sank. A fisherman found him “totally delirious” with hypothermia in the 60-degree water, the Sun-Times reported.

He filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Sail Time Chicago, the company that rented them the boat, claiming the vessel underwent repairs to fix “a battery or electrical problem” three days before they rented it.

Two other passengers aboard the boat — Ashley Haws, a 26-year-old Chicago attorney, and an unidentified woman in her 20s — were also found dead following the accident, authorities said.



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