May 30, 2023

rivergrab1 Rivergrab2

Jan. 13–A man died, a woman is missing and presumed dead and a third person is hospitalized after all three ended up in the Chicago River early Monday morning.

A 26-year-old man dropped his phone and fell in when he lunged after it and the two people with the man, a 21-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man, went in the water after him.

The 26-year-old died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The Cook County medical examiner’s office isn’t releasing the man’s name because his family has not yet been notified of the death.

The woman is missing and presumed dead. The 23-year-old is in stable condition at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, according to authorities.

Rescue workers had pulled the two men from the water near 429 E. North Water Street, about 100 yards west of Lake Shore Drive in the Streeterville neighborhood. Police found the 21-year-old woman’s purse near where she fell in.

Witnesses reported the people in the water just after midnight but authorities turned the rescue effort into a recovery operation about 1:30 a.m. The search was suspended some time after 3 a.m., Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said.

Both the men pulled from the water were taken to area hospitals in serious-to-critical condition, Chicago Fire Department Chief Juan Hernandez, a department spokesman, said.

About two dozen police officers, firefighters and paramedics were at the scene. Two boats helped with the rescue efforts — Chicago Fire Department Engine 2, a large boat, and a smaller one from the Chicago Police Department’s marine unit.

Early in the rescue attempt, a Chicago Police Department marine unit diver slid out across the ice from his boat, attached to a rope, and dropped into the water.

Chicago Fire Department divers also entered the water from above by climbing down a ladder into the river. Firefighters and police above shoveled or kicked snow off the ledge into the water and poked at ice slabs with a long pole.

Three Chicago Fire Department divers also rotated in and out of the water, one at a time, in their search for the woman. Each diver made at least two trips into the water, Hernandez said.

The rescue attempts stopped about 1:30 a.m. and the operation turned into a recovery effort.

“We continued efforts for over an hour rotating divers, searched for the final victim were unsuccessful,” Chicago Fire Department Chief Linda Parsons said. “Now the scene is turned over to Chicago police for recovery. Our operation is terminated at this point.”

Check back for updates.

WGN-TV contributed to this report.

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