Northwestern University Rowing Crew Member Dies After Falling Overboard into North Shore Channel


Mohammed Ramzan, 19, fell from a rowing shell during a practice Monday morning with teammates. CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos reports.

The Search for Mohammed Ramzan
Skokie and Lincolnwood firefighter/paramedics responded about 7:45 a.m. Monday to a report of a person in the water in the North Shore Channel. A MABAS Division 3 Box Alarm was called about 8:07 a.m. for a confirmed person in the water when rescuers learned that a Northwestern University men’s crew team member from the Seattle area, went overboard during a practice exercise on the channel in Lincolnwood about 7:35 a.m. A Northwestern University team member and coach tried to rescue Ramzan after he fell in but were unsuccessful.

About 9:04 a.m., when the crew member had not yet been recovered, firefighter/divers switched the operation to a recovery operation.

Lincolnwood Fire Chief Mike Hansen told reporters a person stood up in a racing shell and fell in the water. The team members were not wearing life preservers.

The body of Mohammed Ramzan, a 21-year-old Northwestern University student, was recovered Monday evening, almost 12 hours after he fell into the North Shore Channel. The search was prolonged because firefighters were not able to pinpoint exactly where Ramzan entered the water when he fell.

“We extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Mohammed’s family and friends for this tragic loss. The loss affects us all, and we urge all members of our community to reach out and support one another.”

— Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin

The row team is a club sport run by students, which practices on the North Shore Channel regularly. The channel current flows from Lake Michigan near the Ba’hai Temple toward the North Branch of the Chicago River, where the waterways conjoin near North Park University, just south of Foster and Kedzie. The channel flows southwest, and then south, through and near Wilmette, Evanston, Skokie, and Lincolnwood, and into Chicago.

Northwestern’s Muslim Student Association held a prayer circle for Mohammed Ramzan Monday evening.

The Lincolnwood Fire Department command unit left the scene about 8:27 p.m. with most of the last boats and rescue squads also leaving about that time. Arlington Heights Fire Department sent five divers on a 2nd Alarm for additional divers and a Side Scan Sonar team activated at about 9:46 a.m. See additional diver response information below the maps.

FIRE/MEDIC UNITS ASSIGNED …
Initial Lincolnwood response, Skokie FD water response was at 7:45 a.m.

Lincolnwood Units
ENGINE(S): E15

TRUCK(S): TL15

SQUAD(S): SQD ??

RIT: BC ?? T ??

CHIEF(S): BC15

EMS: A15

MABAS BOX UNITS ASSIGNED at 8:07 a.m. …

ENGINE(S):

TRUCK(S):

SQUAD(S): Park Ridge SQD35 with BOAT35, Morton Grove Fire Department
Northfield Fire-Rescue Department SQD29, Chicago SQD2

BOAT(S): Park Ridge Fire Department BOAT35
Glenview Fire Department, Glencoe BOAT30

EMS: Skokie Fire Department
Niles Fire Department

CHIEF(S): BC15, Skokie BC16 Chicago BC9

SPECIAL: Division 3 Dive Team, Division 3 Safety, DECON 3, Command 3, MESS Canteen M3

CHANGE OF QUARTERS: ??

STAGING: McCormick and Touhy

MABAS Division 3 Box Alarm on Box #1521 for a dive incident.

Glenview A6 diverted, assigned to Change of Quarters at Skokie Station 18.

EMS BOX 2ND ALARM UNITS ASSIGNED at 8:49 a.m. …

The alarm went straight to a second alarm because most or all first alarm ambulances were already on the scene.

EMS: Northfield Fire-Rescue Department A29,
Glenview Fire Department A6,
Evanston Fire Department A22

CHIEF(S):

SPECIAL:

CHANGE OF QUARTERS: Glenview Fire Department

STAGING: Pratt and McCormick

DIVE BOX 2ND ALARM AT 09:46 AM

SPECIAL: DIVISION 1 DIVE TEAM, DIVISION 1 SECTOR SIDE SCAN SONAR