WHITING — The search continues for a missing man after the boat that capsized was found and brought back to shore, conservation police said.
The boat that capsized May 1 with four aboard was found Friday night east of Chicago in the Illinois side of Lake Michigan, said Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Tyler Brock.
The boat was brought to the shore into the hands of authorities, he said.
As of Saturday afternoon the search for 20-year-old Kelvin Soto Crespo, of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, was ongoing. Brock said the search area encompasses all of Lake County's shorelines and will continue until the man is recovered. He said search efforts heavily depend on weather conditions.
Crespo's father, Benjamin Soto, has been walking the shoreline in Whiting and Hammond since his son went missing when a boat capsized miles from the East Chicago Marina.
On Saturday Soto met with Lake Michigan safety advocates Evelyn Hernandez and Dave Benjamin, both of whom have survived near-drownings in Lake Michigan. They gathered at Whiting's Whihala Beach to continue watching the shore in hopes of recovering Crespo.
"He was very loved," Soto said. "He liked to talk to people and he was a hard worker. He was my baby, the youngest."
Soto traveled to Chicago in hopes of bringing his son home to lay him to rest while Crespo's mother, Wanda Crespo, prays for his return in Puerto Rico.
"I just want to thank everybody for the support and thank everybody searching for Kelvin," Soto said.
In order to help pay for Crespo's funeral expenses and to have him transported to Puerto Rico, his family has launched a GoFundMe campaign called, "Carrying Kelvin Home," hosted by Benjamin Soto. So far $1,310 has been raised of the $11,000 goal.
Crespo moved to Chicago last year and started a career at FedEx, where his father said he loved working and was well-liked by his co-workers. The family has been devastated in the wake of the loss.
"Everyone here and everyone in Puerto Rico is calling constantly," Soto said. "Everyone is praying and following the news. Just yesterday we were praying on the phone with family and friends."
Crespo and three other people were aboard when an 18-foot Bayliner runabout boat capsized just before 2:15 p.m. May 1, authorities said.
A U.S. Coast Guard boat launched from the Chicago station and rescued two of the boat's occupants. The two told officials that four people had been aboard. A good Samaritan rescued a third boater, officials said.
Two of the boaters were treated for hypothermia, and a third person was in critical condition, officials said. Efforts were hampered early in the week due to unsafe weather conditions and the search continues.
All three who were rescued have since been released from the hospital, Brock said.
An investigation into why the boat capsized remains ongoing, officials said.
Anyone who spots the any items that may be associated with the boat accident is asked to call Indiana Conservation Police at 812-837-9536.
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