Patrick “Rocky” Rorig Dies After Falling Through Ice in Backyard Pond in Johnsburg, Illinois


McHenry Township Fire Protection District firefighter/paramedics and divers responded about 6:14 p.m. Sunday to a pond in the back of 3709 Windmere Lane for a water/ice rescue. A father and son were reported to be ice skating on the pond, when the father fell through the ice into the water. His son was able to get off of the ice.

Firefighters and fire department divers were able to find the man, identified as Patrick “Rocky” Rorig, after searching the pond for about 33 minutes. He was immediately treated with Advanced Life Support including CPR while he was moved to a rescue-ambulance and transferred to a Flight for Life helicopter that was staged at a McHenry Township FPD firehouse.

The Flight for Life helicopter transported Patrick Rorig to Level I Trauma Center Advocate Condell Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Firefighters called for a diver’s box to bring divers and side-scan sonar technicians responding to the scene. Side-scan sonar “visualizes” underwater by use of sound waves. At least 15 departments responded to the scene, including Antioch, Buffalo Grove, Cary, Crystal Lake, Gurnee, Spring Grove, Waukegan, Woodstock, and others. The mutual aid request was raised to a second alarm, just before Rorig was discovered in water about five feet deep, and about ten feet from break in the ice. Some ice that was covering the pond was very thick, but the area near the break was thin.

Several water/ice incidents have occurred recently, including another fatality in Johnsburg after a fisherman fell through the ice while ice fishing on the Pistakee Bay on February 3, 2012.

A man was rescued by Chicago police, the Chicago Police Marine Unit and Chicago firefighters after he fell into Belmont Harbor/Lake Michigan on February 18, 2012.

Four children were rescued by a neighbor, Robert George, after they fell through ice in Third Lake, near Grayslake on February 16, 2012.

A man died after being pulled from the South Branch of the Chicago River near Roosevelt Road on February 14, 2012.

A 60-year-old man died in Izaak Walton Nature Lake in Homewood, Illinois after he apparently fell through the ice after trying to rescue his dog on February 13, 2012.

A man died after he was pulled from Lake Michigan by Chicago Fire Department’s Scuba Unit on February 5, 2012.

Palatine police officers rescued a woman who was trying to rescue her dog at Hamilton Reservoir in Palatine on January 21, 2012. She had fallen through ice but was able to keep her head above water water for several minutes. Buffalo Grove firefighters tried to rescue a dog that went underwater in an icy reservoir earlier the same day. The dog was not found.

An off-duty Chicago firefighter rescued a man who fell in the water in Diversey Harbor on January 4, 2012.

Occasionally people can survive beyond the usual estimated six minutes that is the standard time when lack of oxygen causes death. A dive reflex that is enhanced by icy water, can prevent immediate brain death. On January 18, 1984 Jimmy Tontlewicz, snow sledding near Lake Michigan and Lawrence Wilson Drive, went down to the ice cover on Lake Michigan to retrieve a runaway sled with his father Terrence N. Tontlewicz. When Jimmy jumped onto the ice, the ice broke and both fell into the icy cold waters. Jimmy submerged and Terrence managed to stay afloat. A news camera crew was nearby and used a video or power cable to pull Terrence to safety, but Jimmy slipped underwater. He was underwater for about 20 minutes before a Chicago Fire Department diver pulled his apparently lifeless adolescent body out of the water. Jimmy’s body temperature reached as low as 80 degrees and his heart and breathing stopped several times. His heart was restarted with a defibrillator and his body was rewarmed slowly while he was placed in a drug-induced coma to lessen the chance of a hasty return to normal metabolism and the associated possibility of brain damage.

Jimmy Tontlewicz came out of his coma and began months of physical therapy and speech therapy.

That’s why firefighters and divers will work intensely on drownings that are minutes into the incident — especially in icy water.

See recent water/ice rescues on CHICAGOFIREMAP.NET …

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