By Travis Fedschun
Published January 29, 2019
A Chicago man who was trying to save his 9-month old puppy from the bitterly-cold water of Lake Michigan on Sunday ended up having to be rescued himself by police officers, who made a human chain to pull the man out.
The Chicago Police Department said the incident happened near Foster Beach on the city's North Side around 1 p.m., when the 19-lb. dog, Pika, slipped on ice during a lakefront walk and fell into the water. When the 32-year-old man tried to save the dog, he also fell in.
"He started yelling 'Help me, help me, help me.' And then we all kept falling as we got up there, but then we ended up on our knees crawling over the ice ridge to get to him," Officer Miguel del Toro said at a news conference Monday.
Five officers who responded to the scene made a human chain, gripping each other's arms and belts to pull the man out. Officers used a passerby's dog leash to reach the man in the water.
"We didn't talk about it," Sgt. Alex Silva told reporters. "We just kind of did it. So I'm glad they were there. I'm glad we were there quickly because the water temperature was like 34, 35 degrees."
When the man was pulled out of the water, officials said his core body temperature was just 93 degrees -- close to when hypothermia could set in, according to FOX32.
Chicago Police tweeted that Pika and the man are "doing well."
In a letter released by police, the man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he will be "forever grateful" for the actions by the officers.
"I have no doubt that I would have died without help, I am forever grateful to them," the man said. "Pika and I are both fully recovered and in debt to our gracious and heroic first responders."