On Tuesday, the brothers-in-law both died after one of them tried to save the other in the cold waters of Lake Michigan during a family outing at 31st Street Beach. Ali Moufid and Otmane Kassou were both immigrants from Morocco living in Chicago’s suburbs.
Ali Moufid, 36, one of two men who drowned in Lake Michigan
Chicago Tribune(h/t Don Laird) “I don’t know what to say,” said a friend, Ibrahim Benadada. “It’s sad. You go for a picnic. It’s unbelievable.”
Moufid had gone into the lake to retrieve his son’s toy and started struggling and calling for help, according to a police report. Kassou went in after him and they both sank beneath the surface about 25 yards from shore, police said.
Someone called 911 and a helicopter dropped divers at the spot where they were seen going under the water, officials said. The men were found within minutes in about 7 feet of water, 35 to 50 yards from shore, according to fire officials.
Unidentified family member of one of the drowned Muslims
They were taken in “extremely critical” condition to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead, officials said. Moufid was 36 and from Oak Lawn; Kassou was 40 and from Summit.
At 3 p.m., the lakefront temperature was 83 degrees, but the water temperature Tuesday morning was only 55 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Chicago’s beaches open for the swimming season on Friday, so there were no lifeguards on duty at the time.
Speaking by phone Wednesday morning, Benadada recalled picking up Moufid at the airport when Moufid moved to the United States from Morocco in the late 1990s. Benadada was roommates with Moufid’s brother at the time, and Ali stayed with them briefly before finding his own place, Benadada said.
“I’m still digesting it,” said Benadada, who spoke briefly with the grieving widows Tuesday. “It’s unbelievable.”