Sept. 19--A worker doing maintenance in a sewer on the Northwest Side died when he was swept away by a surge of water during heavy rains.
Gustavo Briceno, 25, and another worker were inside the sewer in the 3000 block of North Rockwell Street when the area was hit by flash floods around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said.
Briceno, employed by Kenny Construction, had removed his harness to reach a confined space and was carried away by the rushing water, according to police officials at the scene. The other worker was strapped into his harness and was pulled to safety, the officials said.
A police officer summoned help after driving by and observing a frantic scene at an opening to the sewer, authorities said.
As firefighters and police officers arrived, a robotic camera was lowered to help crews locate Briceno. Officials also requested help from the Chicago Police Department's helicopter and marine units as they searched the Chicago River near the end of the sewer.
"The contractor had the camera going both ways to see if we could find him faster and maybe make this a rescue instead of a recovery," said Michael Fox, chief of special operations for the Chicago Fire Department. "But it didn't turn out."
Briceno's body was recovered about two hours later near Barry Avenue and Rockwell Street, about a block north of where he had been working. He was wearing a wetsuit, a Fire Department spokesman said.
The accident occurred as heavy rains were hitting the city Wednesday night. By 9 p.m., about 3 inches of rain had fallen in the city, according to the National Weather Service, with precipitation rates estimated at 1.5 to 2 inches per hour.
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