Second day of search ends without finding woman who fell into river
Search efforts concluded Saturday night without finding the 18-year-old West Chicago woman with autism who was swept off a bridge into the West Branch of the DuPage River in Winfield shortly before 6 p.m. Friday.
More than 100 search and rescue personnel and volunteers scoured the West Branch DuPage River from Winfield to Warrenville on Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Boats equipped with sonar and infrared-equipped underwater drones were also used according to Tony Martinez, director of community relations at the DuPage Forest Preserve District.
Martinez said once water levels subside and the weather is more conducive, recovery efforts will continue with assistance from partnering agencies.
On Friday, the woman was walking with her two dogs on a flooded pedestrian bridge at Winfield Mounds near Geneva and Woodfield roads.
A witness riding his bicycle nearby said he saw the woman get swept away by the current as she walked through waist-high water on the bridge. The witness tried to assist her until he lost sight of her as she was swept away.
He said her parents confirmed that she is a frequent visitor to the trail.
The search for the woman went on until 11 p.m. on Friday before starting over on Saturday.
Martinez said one of the dogs, a Chihuahua, was found alive.
"We encourage people to exercise caution with floodwaters and to play it safe," Martinez said. "Water is deceiving and very powerful."
"Our hearts go out to the family at this tragic time," said DuPage Forest Preserve District Police Chief David Pederson. "We are very appreciative of all the help we have received from the numerous agencies and volunteers who assisted in this exhaustive search."