Officials ID man who drowned in Calumet River

2013-06-12T16:45:00Z 2013-06-12T23:47:04Z Officials ID man who drowned in Calumet RiverGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
June 12, 2013 4:45 pm  • 

CHICAGO | The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined Wednesday the drowning death of a man in the Calumet River was both alcohol-related and accidental.

An autopsy was performed on Neil Karas, 39, of the 13000 block of South Burley Avenue in Chicago's Hegewisch neighborhood.

The autopsy determined his death Tuesday to be accidental in nature, with Karas drowning in the river after having consumed an unspecified level of alcoholic beverages, according to the investigations division of the medical examiner’s office.

That conclusion matches with the Chicago Police Department, which on Wednesday called Karas’ death an apparent drowning. Officers with the police News Affairs Division said the investigation was pending, but that no one had been charged with anything as of Wednesday.

Karas was among a group of people around the Calumet River near 137th Street and Hoxie Avenue at about 2 p.m. Tuesday when he jumped into the water, but then did not immediately come back up.

Officials told NBC 5 News in Chicago that the river has a very low visibility and a soft, quicksand-like bottom throughout the area.

Police said a friend jumped into the water to try to save Karas, but that he too became trapped in the water. Rescue efforts took place, and the friend was removed from the water alive about 2:45 p.m.

Karas remained missing until a Chicago police Marine Unit boat using sonar equipment located his body. Officials with the Coast Guard station at Calumet Harbor said they pulled his body from the river at 7:21 p.m. Water was about 15 feet deep at the point where his body was found, officials said.

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