The bodies of two people who drowned Sunday, March 31, in the DuPage River in Shorewood were recovered Monday, April 1, by emergency responders. The victims were last seen in the water by the Hammel Woods forest preserve dam at around 5:50 p.m. Sunday. Rescue workers searched the river until roughly 9:00 p.m. and the search resumed Monday morning. The 28-year-old male victim was recovered late morning Monday. The body of the man’s 22-year-old girlfriend was recovered at around 2:00 p.m.
During a press conference held Monday, Troy Fire Chief Andy Doyle said a witness stated the man went into the water first. When the woman saw that her boyfriend was in distress, she entered the water to help him.
Doyle said more than 30 fire agencies and five police agencies were involved in the rescue and recovery effort, which involved a 2.5-mile stretch of the river from the Hammel Woods dam toward Mound Road. Firefighters walked the shore and traveled the river in boats looking for the missing couple.
Doyle cautioned preserve visitors to stay away from the Hammel Woods dam, which he likened to a lake riptide. The dam may look calm at times, but it is extremely dangerous because of the turbulence at the structure’s base.
“It’s very hard to swim out of that,” Doyle said. ” … We really stress that people stay away from the dam.”
Swimming is prohibited at all times in water bodies located in the Forest Preserve District of Will County, including Hammel Woods. And warning signs are posted on the river that boaters must portage around the dam. Once the families can be properly notified of the deaths, the victims’ identities will be released by the Will County Coroner’s Office.