Wheeling Dive Box for Water Rescue of Person Trapped Under Dam

Wheeling Fire Department requested an extra alarm Dive Box for the water rescue of a person trapped under Dam #1 of the Des Plaines River at about 5:45 p.m. Saturday. The person has been identified as Gavino Alvarez-Diego of Prospect Heights. Several witness saw the man in his mid-thirties fall into the river while he was walking with a friend, just north of the dam. He went underwater and popped up on the south side of the dam, but then went back beneath the surface of the water. The current of the Des Plaines River flows north to south toward Chicago — from Dundee Road toward Palatine Road, just east of Milwaukee Avenue. Dam No. 1 is located near the Hintz Road intersection of Milwaukee Avenue, just northeast of Chicago Executive Airport. Most of the fire/rescue vehicles were staged within the forest preserve, so many people passing the activity thought there was a serious car crash in the forest preserve.

Fire departments from Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Glenview, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights and other towns were called to assist Wheeling Fire Department. Additional fire departments listed below. Fire departments were sending dive technicians, extra boats, and extra rescue squads for a water rescue at Dam #1 near Hintz Road and Milwaukee Avenue. Wheeling Fire Department has their own fully equipped Dive Squad. All departments usually request help from additional fire department dive teams for prolonged rescue or recovery operations. The dive operations main command set up two commands — a River West Command and a River East Command. The River East Command was under the orders of Arlington Heights fire chief Glen Ericksen

The Extra Alarm status for the Dive Box at Dam No. 1 was upgraded to a fourth alarm at about 6:25 p.m. and a side-scan sonar device is being used to search for the victim under water.


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Map of the area of the Des Plaines River near Hintz and Milwaukee where Wheeling Fire Department requested assistance for the rescue of a person reported to be trapped under Dam 1 in the Dam No. 1 Woods East of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.


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Other fire departments assisting Wheeling Fire Department included Beach Park, Lake Zurich, Wilmette, Waukegan, Highland Park, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Libertyville, Palatine, Schaumburg, Grayslake, Lake Villa, Lincolnshire, Hoffman Estates.

The rescue operation was re-classified as a recovery operation after the victim had been under water more than 100 minutes. Diver recovery operations were suspended at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and will resume Sunday morning. However several fire/rescue personnel will standby overnight in case the body resurfaces.