Chicago, IL – Two people are dead and one is injured after one man tried retrieving a dropped cell phone and they all ended up falling through the ice of the Chicago River.
Shortly after midnight, 26-year-old Ken Hoang of dropped his cell phone as he and two friends walked along Water Street near McClurg Court. The phone ended up in the partially frozen Chicago River and Hoang jumped a fence in an attempt to retrieve it.
He ended up falling through the ice and his two friends, 23-year-old Quoc-Viet Phan Hoang and 21-year-old Lauren Li, ended up in the river with him when they both tried to help him. Witnesses called police after they heard one of the two men yelling for help.
“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?’” witness Luis said. “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.”
A dive rescue team ended up pulling both men out of the river and rushed them to the hospital where Ken Hoang would be pronounced dead. The rescue team could not locate Li. She is still missing and presumed dead. The Chicago Police Department’s Marine Unit resumed their search at daybreak but say visibility is low and they’re having trouble reading their gauges.
Quoc-Viet Phan Hoang was in stable condition at St. Joseph Hospital and left a post on his Facebook page that stated: “Life’s too short..I hope no one would ever have to go through something so unfortunate such as what has happened…from the bottom of my heart I am sorry for what happened…RIP Ken Hoang Lauren Li”
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said he hopes the deaths of these two people serves as a warning to others. “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,” he said.
No shit. I hate to say it, but if my friend fell into an icy river while trying to retrieve a cellphone, the last thing they’d see before going under is me, yards away on the river bank, holding out a stick while shouting, “Grab it, dumbass!”