2 Dead After Man Drops Phone in Icy Chicago River

A third person is in critical condition after desperate plunge

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 13, 2014 6:16 PM CST

(Newser) – One person is dead, one is missing, and one is in critical condition after a man dropped his cell phone in the Chicago River—and went lunging in after it, the Chicago Tribune reports. The phone's owner, a 26-year-old man, was found dead in the icy waters this morning, and his female friend, 21, is missing and presumed dead by drowning. Another male friend, 23, was rescued and hospitalized. Witness Jose Cuevas said he heard cries from the river just after midnight: "Please hurry, my friend is dying, please I can't hold on any longer," Cuevas said he heard a man say. "My girlfriend is in the water and I don't know where she's at."

Cuevas wouldn't jump in, so he called 911 and rescue crews arrived in about four minutes, an official tells NBC Chicago. Workers tried to rescue the people and ended up pulling two bodies from the river, Cuevas said. Officials suspended the search at around 3am and returned this morning with divers, who spent much of the day searching for the woman. The divers said it was just above freezing underwater with zero visibility. "The lesson learned here is real simple," said Chicago's police superintendent, ABC 7 reports. "If your pets go onto ice, if you drop a cell phone or wallet, do not try and retrieve it."

Emergency personnel gather near the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, early Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, where a 26-year-old man was pulled from the water after jumping in after his cell phone.
Emergency personnel gather near the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, early Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, where a 26-year-old man was pulled from the water after jumping in after his cell phone.   (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, George Slefo)
Chicago Police and Fire Department boats are seen on the Chicago River early Monday morning, Jan. 14, 2014, where a 26-year-old man was pulled from the water after he jumped in after his cell phone.
Chicago Police and Fire Department boats are seen on the Chicago River early Monday morning, Jan. 14, 2014, where a 26-year-old man was pulled from the water after he jumped in after his cell phone.   (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, George Slefo)
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