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Authorities: Body of third boater recovered from Cal-Sag Channel

Illinois Conservatipolice officers William Miller (left) Ben Schultz search Calumet-Saganashkee Channel near Village Worth BoLaunch Sunday afternoon. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

Illinois Conservation police officers William Miller (left) and Ben Schultz search the Calumet-Saganashkee Channel near the Village of Worth Boat Launch Sunday afternoon. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

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Updated: June 23, 2014 3:04PM

Authorities have identified the body of a third missing boater who was recovered from the Calumet-Saganashkee Channel after a weekend crash between a pleasure boat and a commercial vessel near Palos Heights, authorities on the scene said.

The body of Bob Bielarz, 39, of Orland Park, was recovered about 10 a.m. Monday in the Cal-Sag, about 11/2 miles west of the Worth boat launch, Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Young said at 1:45 p.m. Monday.

Two other people were killed in the Friday crash.

The cause of the collision remained under investigation. The 19-foot boat capsized and had significant damage, Young said Sunday.

The bodies of Jeremy Muzika, 33, and Viengsavnh Bielarz, 40, were recovered from the water Saturday afternoon, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office and the U.S. Coast Guard. Neither was wearing a life jacket, according to the Coast Guard.

They died of drowning and multiple injuries after the boat collided with a 66-foot barge, an autopsy found Sunday. The deaths were ruled accidents.

Teams from the Coast Guard, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other authorities began a search about 11 p.m. Friday after the boat and the barge collided on the Cal-Sag near mile marker 311.

Authorities used sonar to search for victims on Saturday. But on Sunday, search efforts were hampered after powerful Saturday storms stirred up the channel, preventing two Illinois Conservation Police search teams from using sonar.

Contributing: Steve Metsch, Megan Graham, Brian Slodysko

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