CHICAGO - An effort to retrieve a dropped cell phone ended in tragedy on Monday when a 26-year-old man died after falling into the icy Chicago River near downtown Chicago, and a 21-year-old woman who was with him was presumed dead after also going into the river, police said.
Another man who was with the two young adults was pulled from the river by rescue workers and was hospitalized, Chicago Police Officer Mike Sullivan said.
The 26-year-old man dropped his phone along the river walk north of Chicago’s Loop and fell into the water when he went after it around midnight Monday, Sullivan said.
The 21-year-old woman and the second man, aged 23, went into the river after him. None of the three have been identified by authorities.
Both men were pulled from the water by rescue workers, and the 26-year-old was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to Sullivan. The second man is in “stable but guarded condition” at Presence St. Joseph Hospital, he said.
The Chicago River in the area where the deaths occurred was covered with floating sheets of ice on Monday, as the area continues to thaw after last week’s deep freeze. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy warned on Monday of the dangers of the ice.
“If your pets go onto ice, if you drop a cell phone or a wallet, do not try and retrieve it, especially from on top of the ice because you’ll fall through,” McCarthy told reporters. “That’s how tragedies like this happen.”
Temperatures in Chicago were in the low 40s Fahrenheit (about 6C) on Monday, after plunging as low as minus-16F (-27C) last week.
Rescue workers were still searching late Monday afternoon for the woman, who is presumed dead.
“It’s a recovery, not a rescue,” Sullivan said.
An autopsy on the man will be performed Tuesday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
(Reporting ; editing by Karen Brooks and Leslie Adler)