A Nigerian, named Oluwafemi ‘Arthur’ Labinjo, 30, went missing while boat-hopping at the annual Chicago Scene Boat Party at the Playpen in Lake Michigan on July 27, 2019, and his dead body was found in the water on August 1.
The heartbroken family of the Chicago man, who died while boat-hopping during a yacht and boat party in Lake Michigan, is demanding answers into his sudden death.
The 30-year-old went missing while partying on a boat in Lake Michigan on July 27 with friends. His body was discovered in the water four days later.
He was one of the dozens of revelers enjoying the Chicago Scene Boat Party, a tradition where people link their vessels and party in an area known as the Playpen, a no-wake area south of Oak Street Beach, UK Daily Mail reports.
‘It’s a once-a-year celebration of the waterfront. It’s an iconic part of the Chicago summer for sure,’ Ken Monro, who has attended the boating party for years, said to the Chicago Tribune.
Labinjo’s family said he boarded a chartered boat with his friends but left them. His cellphone, shoes and other belongings were also left behind and he never returned.
He was supposed to pick up his daughter that night but never showed up. He was reported missing the following day.
“We were completely in the dark,” his brother Eddie Labinjo, who was in California at the time, said.
Arthur Labinjo’s body was found on August 1 off the 800 block of North Lake Shore Drive. He was identified by his tattoos and dental records.
An investigation into his death is ongoing and an autopsy was inconclusive, pending further studies, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
His mother flew to Chicago from her current residence in Virginia and his father flew in from Nigeria following his death.
“Most things can be reconciled once you know the answers. We just need to know: What happened? What was the cause of death?” his mother Glenda Labinjo said.
“How painful it was for me to make those calls this morning,” she added.
But she said recalling her son’s life advice has been helping her cope with his sudden death.
“I kept remembering, ‘Mom, I know how to compartmentalize the problems and take care of the issue.’ So I held back, and when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get out of the bed, I thought about things that need to be done for Arthur,” she said. Officials still are not sure which boat Labinjo ended up boarding before his death.
Lt. Brian Hennessy, the chief of the investigations division for the Coast guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago said three illegal charters were anchored at the Scene party.
The Playpen is a popular boating area in Chicago that is frequented on the weekends where revelers enjoy drinking and partying on the water.
In recent years, the Coast Guard has cracked down on identifying illegally chartered boats that don’t meet federal regulations and could endanger passengers.
The greatest concern with unlicensed vessels is that they do not have “man overboard procedures”, which means many alcohol-consuming are at risk without rescue procedures on board.
Arthur Labinjo was raised in Bolingbrook and was the youngest of three children who graduated from the University of Illinois in 2009 and pursued a career in IT and coached on the side for a youth football team.
Following his death, his Facebook page has been inundated with condolences. Photos on his profile show him smiling and holding his young daughter in his arms.