Pipestone grad killed after falling into Chicago smokestack - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Pipestone grad killed after falling into Chicago smokestack

Posted: Updated:

By Jessica D'Onofrio (WLS-TV)

December 13, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A 23-year-old man pulled from a smokestack high atop a Magnificent Mile hotel died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital early Thursday.

Nick Wieme of Chicago was pronounced dead at 5:15 a.m.

The man was on the top of the hotel taking pictures with his girlfriend when he climbed the smokestack for a better shot and fell in. She called 911, and the couple communicated via cell phone for awhile as rescuers worked to get him out.

Fire crews were able to cut a hole in the smokestack that he fell into at the InterContinental Hotel and get him out. Crews got the call to respond to the hotel at 505 North Michigan Avenue just after 1 a.m.

Authorities say he actually climbed up onto the hotel's iconic dome and was in a restricted area above a 42nd floor balcony.

He fell about 22 feet before a structure inside the smokestack broke his fall. Beyond that, there would have been a 42-story drop below.

"The victim fell about 22 feet and was laying in the bottom of the chimney shaft at the 42nd floor. We had members from the top to assess his condition, and the whole time we're monitoring the situation for toxic gases. What we found is the best way to get him out would be go two floors below and we had to cut the ductwork for the chimney, which was made out of steel. We ended up sliding the victim down into the hole and removing him from the building," said one rescuer.

Fire officials say at first the man was mumbling but then he was in and out of consciousness and was able to make very limited communication with them during the confined-space rescue that took hours to undertake.

Dozens of emergency crews responded, blocking off Michigan Avenue between Ohio and Illinois.

The man had been calling and sending messages to his girlfriend throughout the ordeal, Fire Media Affairs said. However, authorities had not been in contact with the man as of about 4:15 a.m.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2012 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
  • Despite rain, LifeLight Festival attracts thousands

    Despite rain, LifeLight Festival attracts thousands

    Sunday, August 31 2014 12:58 AM EDT2014-08-31 04:58:26 GMT
    The community of Worthing is drawing hundreds of thousands this weekend for the 17th annual LifeLight Music Festival -- from Skillet to Michael W. Smith, Sanctus Real and Colton Dixon -- the festival is bringing some big-name Christian artists to our areaThe community of Worthing is drawing hundreds of thousands this weekend for the 17th annual LifeLight Music Festival -- from Skillet to Michael W. Smith, Sanctus Real and Colton Dixon -- the festival is bringing some big-name Christian artists to our area
     The community of Worthing is drawing hundreds of thousands this weekend for the 17th annual LifeLight Music Festival -- from Skillet to Michael W. Smith, Sanctus Real and Colton Dixon -- the festival is bringing some big-name Christian artists to our area.  More >>
     The community of Worthing is drawing hundreds of thousands this weekend for the 17th annual LifeLight Music Festival -- from Skillet to Michael W. Smith, Sanctus Real and Colton Dixon -- the festival is bringing some big-name Christian artists to our area.  
    More >>
  • Thousands raised for disabled veterans at charity poker run

    Thousands raised for disabled veterans at charity poker run

    Sunday, August 31 2014 12:30 AM EDT2014-08-31 04:30:24 GMT
    The South Dakota Army National Guard's 727th Transportation Company and the group Disabled American Veterans held their 10th annual charity poker run.More >>
    The South Dakota Army National Guard's 727th Transportation Company and the group Disabled American Veterans held their 10th annual charity poker run.More >>
  • Little SD-owned publishing house earns Wilder book

    Little SD-owned publishing house earns Wilder book

    Saturday, August 30 2014 1:12 PM EDT2014-08-30 17:12:00 GMT
    The South Dakota State Historical Society Press plans to publish "Pioneer Girl: An Annotated Autobiography" this November.More >>
    The South Dakota State Historical Society Press plans to publish "Pioneer Girl: An Annotated Autobiography" this November.More >>
  • Sioux Falls ranked high for job seekers over 50

    Sioux Falls ranked high for job seekers over 50

    Saturday, August 30 2014 1:01 PM EDT2014-08-30 17:01:57 GMT
    A social media and marketing company ranked Sioux Falls among the best U.S. cities for people looking for a job who are older than 50.More >>
    A social media and marketing company ranked Sioux Falls among the best U.S. cities for people looking for a job who are older than 50.More >>
  • New High School brings bright future for Gettysburg

    New High School brings bright future for Gettysburg

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:48 PM EDT2014-08-30 01:48:30 GMT
    Students at Gettysburg started school this week with a brand new building.More >>
    Students at Gettysburg started school this week with a brand new building.More >>
  • Ukrainian Americans say U.S. needs to step in now

    Ukrainian Americans say U.S. needs to step in now

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:29 PM EDT2014-08-30 00:29:32 GMT
    The unrest continues in Ukraine -- as Russia's involvement is becoming much clearer. For Ukrainian Americans here in South Dakota, it's hard to watch the images on television in their home country.The unrest continues in Ukraine -- as Russia's involvement is becoming much clearer. For Ukrainian Americans here in South Dakota, it's hard to watch the images on television in their home country.
    The unrest continues in Ukraine -- as Russia's involvement is becoming much clearer. For Ukrainian Americans here in South Dakota, it's hard to watch the images on television in their home country.More >>
    The unrest continues in Ukraine -- as Russia's involvement is becoming much clearer. For Ukrainian Americans here in South Dakota, it's hard to watch the images on television in their home country.More >>
  • Senegal confirms first Ebola case

    Senegal confirms first Ebola case

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:04 GMT
    The West African country of Senegal has confirmed its first Ebola case one week after closing its border with Guinea over fears that the deadly outbreak could spread, the Senegalese Press Agency reported Friday.More >>
    The West African country of Senegal has confirmed its first Ebola case one week after closing its border with Guinea over fears that the deadly outbreak could spread, the Senegalese Press Agency reported Friday.More >>
  • South Dakota, other states settle lawsuit against Omnicare

    South Dakota, other states settle lawsuit against Omnicare

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:30 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:30:39 GMT
    The state's attorney general says South Dakota has recovered more than $170,000 after settling a whistle blower lawsuit with a Cincinnati-based company that allegedly engaged in a kickback scheme with skilled-nursing facilities nationally.More >>
    The state's attorney general says South Dakota has recovered more than $170,000 after settling a whistle blower lawsuit with a Cincinnati-based company that allegedly engaged in a kickback scheme with skilled-nursing facilities nationally.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KSFY. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service or our EEO Report.