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Girl, 13, dies after being pulled from Lake Michigan

Tianna Hollinside was taken to the hospital after paramedics performed CPR


By Nereida Moreno and Rosemary Regina Sobol
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A young girl died Tuesday after she was submerged for 45 minutes near a popular diving spot in Lake Michigan off Rogers Park where neighbors say they regularly rescue children.

Tianna Hollinside, 13, of the 1600 block of West Jonquil Terrace, was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. at Presence Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Tianna was pulled from the water off the 7700 block of East Eastlake Terrace, about a half a mile from home, around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Saint Francis after paramedics performed CPR, according to fire officials and the medical examiner's office.

Ron Dorneker, deputy district chief of diving operations, said the girl was in "extremely critical condition."  She was later pronounced dead at the hospital, fire officials said.

"Sad news," Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford tweeted. "Despite the best efforts the little girl pulled from the lake has passed away at St Francis Evanston."

Brad Gibbs, 59, who lives in the area, said he called 911 after the girl disappeared under the water shortly before 10 a.m. Then he jumped in to find her.

He said the water was "pretty calm" but there was a little bit of a current. He said the water was "cold enough to shock you" if you were not used to it.

"I feel really bad that it happened. I feel really bad that I wasn't able to find her," he said.

Gibbs said he's lived in the neighborhood for about 20 years and has had to rescue children in that area several times.

"I feel really bad about it, actually. We see kids jumping in there a lot... We've pulled people out before because kids will play in here a lot and the currents will wash them around.

"So it's not a real surprise," he said. "But you know . . .it's really sad."

Nicole Gentle, of Evanston, was jogging by when she saw Gibbs in the water. She said three young boys were crying for him to find the girl.

“I immediately got on my knees and prayed for this girl,” she said. “I noticed the current was going out (northbound) so I walked around the rocks to see if I could get a higher view… just to help.”

Dorneker said responders were on scene within four minutes of being called.

A helicopter dive team did a quick search, followed by four other dive teams from the police marine unit and the Chicago Fire Department, Dorneker said.

The girl was pulled from the water near a ledge she may have jumped from because there is a sandy bottom there, fire officials said.

The water is about 15-20 feet deep and is dangerous in cold temperatures, Dorneker said.

“It’ll zap your strength. The strongest swimmers have difficulty swimming in these temperatures,” he said.

Rescue teams operate in rescue mode for 90 minutes when treating victims of cold-water drownings.

Paramedics and doctors used CPR, drugs and shock, Langford said.

“They did everything right there on the ledge and they kept up CPR continuously in the ambulance," Langford said. "Everything was continuous all the way to the ER. The ER was expecting her. They took over and worked on her for over an hour.

"They weren’t successful,’’ he said. “They gave it their best effort."

Dorneker said the search was difficult because of the wind and the current.

"Just being here and seeing the wind, which creates a little bit of a current on the surface, and these water temperatures of 52 degrees, it could be deceiving," Dorneker said. "And we want to warn the public about that."

Copyright 2017 The Chicago Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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