Divers searching Chicago River for friend of drowned St. Paul man


A 26-year-old St. Paul man who went into the Chicago River trying to retrieve his cellphone died early Monday, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Two of his friends, a man and a woman, also went into the river – she is missing and he was hospitalized, the newspaper reports. The woman is presumed dead, ABC 7 News in Chicago reports. ABC 7 reports that the two friends went into the river to rescue the 26-year-old when he began struggling in the water.

The man who died has not yet been identified pending notification of family.

Police in Chicago say he dropped his phone along a riverwalk and fell into the water when he lunged for it, the Chicago Tribune reports. He had climbed over a fence in the city's Streeterville neighborhood in an effort to get to the phone, the Sun Times reports.

The two men were pulled from the water shortly after midnight, according to Chicago media reports. The 26-year-old was taken to Northwestern Hospital and pronounced dead a few hours later.

The 23-year-old male friend was in critical condition at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, according to media reports.

Divers began a search for the 21-year-old woman at daybreak. The website DNAinfo Chicago reports the searchers took a break at midday to re-fill their air tanks and allow a barge to pass, then returned to the river at about 1:30.

The Chicago Tribune reports authorities found the woman's purse near where she went into the water. The Tribune spoke to Jose Cuevas, who was strolling along the Riverwalk after a movie and heard one of the men yelling for help. Cuevas tells the newspaper he heard the man call out: "Please hurry, my friend is dying; please I can’t hold on any longer. My girlfriend is in the water and I don’t’ know where she’s at.’’

There have been other cases of people dying in efforts to retrieve their phones. Last year, a man in Palatine, Illinois, was crushed in a trash compactor as he searched for his missing phone. In 2012, a veteran postal worker fell into a drainage ditch and drowned in south Florida in an apparent effort to grab a dropped cellphone.

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