Wilmette, News

Medical examiner confirms summer death at Gillson Beach was an accidental drowning

A 32-year-old man who was pulled from Lake Michigan Aug. 8 in Wilmette died from accidental drowning, according an October designation from the Cook County medical examiner.

The man was identified as Ankit Zutshi, of Chicago, who died the following day at an area hospital.

It took more than two months for the medical examiner to issue a confirmed cause of death, as investigators researched the victim’s medical history and other factors, according to Wilmette police.

The incident marks the first drowning death at Gillson Beach in nine years. In August 2011, 14-year-old Tristan Shambee, of Evanston, drowned after reportedly playing with his friends near the rock jetty that separates the beach from Wilmette Harbor.

On Aug. 8, a bystander in the water reportedly noticed a body, later identified as Zutshi, floating in the waters off Gillson Beach around 4 p.m. on Aug. 8.

Witness Maria Hubbard, of Wilmette, said the male bystander acted “like a superhero” and carried Zutshi all the way to the beach, where Wilmette Park District lifeguards helped him ashore.

Steve Wilson, the park district’s executive director, said at least seven and possibly 10 lifeguards aided in CPR while others controlled the crowed.

The life-saving efforts were unsuccessful, however.

“From the moment they realized what was going on, they performed at a very high level,” Wilson said of the lifeguards, who he added go through “extensive” training and certification before starting the job. “I don’t believe anyone was not doing their job and missed something.”

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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