HAMMOND | A Whiting man died early Thursday after falling through the ice while skating on Wolf Lake late Wednesday, according to Hammond authorities.
Edward Ihnat, 50, was pronounced dead at 12:41 a.m. Thursday at Franciscan St. Margaret's Health hospital, according to the Lake County coroner's office. The cause of death was listed as drowning.
According to Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith, fire crews were called to 2102 Forrest Ave. near the Illiana Yacht Club north of the Indiana Toll Road, around 10 p.m. for a call of two men who fell through the ice on Wolf Lake.*
Smith said one of the men was able to get out, but Ihnat went under the water.
Members of the Fire Department's water rescue team worked to free Ihnat from the water. Smith said Ihnat was under the frigid lake for 20 to 25 minutes.
A medical helicopter from the University of Chicago Hospitals responded and landed on the Indiana Toll Road, Smith said. Paramedics on the helicopter found Ihnat had no pulse when pulled from the water and opted not to fly him to Chicago, Smith said.
Smith cautioned against going out onto the ice on any area lake or pond.
Smith said his water rescue team, who were tethered to others on land and wearing insulated dive suits, reported the ice was very thin and broke easily when they walked out for the rescue.
*This story has been edited from the original version.