Two Friends Killed, One Injured After Going Into Icy Chicago River To Retrieve A Cell Phone

A rescue team pulled two men out of the frigid water early Monday while a woman remains missing and is presumed dead.

Emergency personnel gather near the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, early Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, George Slefo

A 26-year-old man died Monday after climbing over a fence along the Chicago Riverwalk and falling into the icy waters in an attempt to retrieve his cell phone. His two friends — a 23-year-old man and 21-year-old woman — tried to help, but fell into the river as well.

AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, George Slefo

A rescue team pulled the two men out of the water early Monday morning and rushed them to nearby hospitals. The 26-year-old later died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, while the 23-year-old is recovering in stable condition at St. Joseph Hospital. All three were friends from Minnesota, WGN-TV reported.

A diver and a police officer from the Chicago Marine Unit. Peter Nickeas/Chicago Tribune / MCT

Rescue teams searched for three hours in frigid waters for the 21-year-old woman before calling off the mission. She is still missing, but presumed dead. Authorities returned to the site in the morning with her family for a recovery mission.

Peter Nickeas/Chicago Tribune / MCT

A witness told ABC Chicago that he and a friend heard a scream for help:

And my friend said he heard a yell [for] help, you know. At first I didn’t believe it, so we still kept walking this way to keep sightseeing. As we got closer, he heard it again and I heard it again, too. And as we got closer, we yelled out, ‘Where you at?’ I kept saying who was he with? And they said he had a friend and girlfriend, too, that went under the water, but he couldn’t find her. We called the police.

Peter Nickeas/Chicago Tribune / MCT

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said:

The lesson learned here is real simple. If your pets go onto ice, if you drop a cell phone or wallet, do not try and retrieve it.

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Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
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