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updated: 2/20/2012 2:19 PM

Johnsburg man dies after falling through ice Sunday night

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A McHenry County man died Sunday evening after falling through ice on a retention pond in his backyard, fire officials said.

Emergency crews were called to the 3700 block of Windmere Lane in Johnsburg around 6:15 p.m. Sunday where the 40-year-old man had reportedly been ice skating with his son and fell through a thin area, said McHenry Township Fire Deputy Chief Rudy Horist.

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The man was removed from the water 31 minutes after emergency crews were dispatched. He was airlifted to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville where he was pronounced dead.

The man's name has not yet been released. No one else was injured.

McHenry Township Fire District Batallion Chief Mike Majercik was the first at the scene and spotted the hole the man fell through but could not see him under the ice.

Rescue crews immediately began breaking up the ice and a diver began searching below the ice about 15 feet offshore where the man fell in, Majercik said.

Parts of the ice covering the pond were so thick that emergency crews had to use hand tools to break through, Horist said.

Horist said the water, which was a retention pond for the subdivision, varied in depth, but the man was taken out of about 10-foot deep waters.

Paramedics rushed the man to a fire station in Johnsburg where a helicopter was waiting to take him to Advocate Condell Medical Center.

The fire district sounded a box alarm, requesting assistance from 15 area departments, but the diver found the man before the departments arrived, Majercik said. Other suburban emergency crews responding included Fox Lake, Antioch, Spring Grove, Waukegan, Gurnee, Cary, Crystal Lake and Woodstock.

Horist cautioned against similar accidents in the future.

"As a general reminder for everyone, due to the unusually warm weather we've had and unsafe ice conditions, we recommend that everyone stay off the ice at all times," Horist said.

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