False Report Revs Up Meigs Faithful

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An apparent false report of a swimmer in distress proves once again that closing Chicago's beloved lakefront airport was a singularly boneheaded move, according to the group Friends of Meigs. On April 25, Chicago 911 received a call of a person in trouble on a north-side beach. Emergency crews were dispatched, including a helicopter with diver. Prior to the closure of Meigs Field, emergency crews were stationed at the Meigs Fire Station, but that station closed when the field did. Though city officials promised that the closure would increase response time by only one to two minutes, Friends say the false alarm showed it would be much more. Members of the Friends say the closure of the field was done with no regard for public safety and the 911 response proves it. Linda Ptack, president of the Illinois Association of Air and Critical Care Transport, echoes those fears, confirming that the closure of Meigs has "significantly impacted" air medical operations in the city of Chicago. Ptack says the loss of Meigs means air medical programs are now forced to travel farther and land at Midway, O'Hare, or the few privately owned helipads.