Yariv Becher said he almost didn’t put on his running shoes Sunday morning, but his decision to run in the snow near Belmont Harbor for the first time in a few weeks helped save the life of a woman who fell through the ice into Lake Michigan.
“Because of the snow, I haven’t run there for a few weeks,” Becher said.
The father of three, originally from Israel, was jogging near the harbor around 10:30 a.m. when he said he heard noises.
“I was running with my earphones listening to music and I heard noises,” he said. “There wasn’t anyone there, so I looked around, and then I noticed [a woman] hanging onto the ropes.”
A woman in her 30s, who may have been out for a run as well, had slipped and fallen into the arctic water surrounded by ice, police said. She had managed to use a belt to strap herself to the dock to keep from going under.
“She pretty much just held on for life, and she sort of lodged her arm through the belt, the strap, and was able to yell out for help,” said Sgt. Ruben Ramirez with the Chicago Police Department.
Becher said he tried to lift her out, but her legs were stuck in the ice. He called 911 and kept her head above water until police and fire rescuers arrived.
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“The only thing she said: ‘Don’t let me fall. Please help me,’” Becher said. “I asked for her name, she didn't tell me her name. I think she was too cold to talk.”
The woman spent about 20 minutes in the 35-degree water, according to authorities. Police credit the quick thinking of the woman and Becher with saving her life.
“We’re not the heroes,” said Ramirez. “Yesterday, the jogger, he’s a hero.”
The woman was treated for hypothermia and was released from the hospital Monday. Police warned residents to stay off the ice and call 911 if you spot someone who has fallen in.