Updated 12/17/13 – 4:50 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A woman from Texas died Tuesday morning, after rescue divers pulled her from the icy Chicago River downtown.
30-year-old Alicia Garnett fell into the river around 3:40 a.m. near the Michigan Avenue bridge.
Donning cold water gear, a Chicago firefighter went into the water to find the woman, after a passerby called 911 when she saw the woman fall in.
“We train to try to shave time off of these rescues,” said Deputy Dist. Chief Ron Dorneker. “By the time we are called and get on the scene … the strategy has to be in place, and we have to perfect a great search to save time without compromising the safety of the rescuers.”
Hailey Barham said she was driving down the street, and saw a panicked woman begging someone to call police.
When emergency crews arrived, firefighters and police spoke to Garnett’s grief-stricken friends in an attempt to pinpoint the victim’s location under the ice-strewn river.
Once they found out where Garnett went in, it didn’t take long for a diver to find her.
“Probably within 10 to 15 minutes, [they] pulled her out,” Barham said.
Crews immediately placed the victim on a stretcher, and rushed her to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Barham said Garnett’s friends told her they’d been staying at the Omni Chicago Hotel, and had been walking along the Riverwalk when their friend ended up in the water.
As of late Tuesday morning, there was still an open death investigation in the case, but police sources said it appeared Garnett slipped and fell into the river.