CHICAGO - A man trying to take a photo from the top of the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue died Friday after falling 22 feet down a smokestack, authorities said.
It took rescue crews four hours to remove Nicholas Wieme, 23. At one point, they cut through a wall and wedged boards in the chute to keep him from falling farther.
Covered in a white sheet, Wieme was wheeled into an ambulance inside the hotel's basement garage and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Fire Department and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
Rescue crews responded to the hotel about 1:10 a.m. local time after someone called and reported a person threatening to jump from the roof.
Firefighters later learned Wieme had fallen down the smokestack, according to Fire Department spokeswoman Meg Ahlheim.
A "confined space rescue" was called, bringing 30 companies and about 125 firefighters and paramedics to the scene.
They discovered Wieme had fallen 22 feet down a 6-foot-wide smokestack and was wedged where the chute angled before dropping 42 floors, Ahlheim said.
Wieme and his girlfriend had dined on Michigan Avenue Wednesday evening and then decided to "explore" the hotel, according to a source.