Two people were swept away by the Des Plaines River Sunday evening after the car they were riding in crashed in a northwest suburban forest preserve.
About 9 p.m., firefighters and police were informed that a silver BMW had struck a guard rail on the east side of River Road and crashed into a forest Preserve, according to the Schiller Park Fire Department. First responders found the badly-damaged car wedged between trees with no one inside.
A witness to the crash told police two males were in the car, but did not walk back to the road after the crash, according to the fire department. That led authorities to believe they had walked east into dense forest. The Des Plaines River, which is high and moving quickly after recent rain, is just east of the crash site, and rescuers feared the men had been swept away.
Schiller Park and Niles firefighters began a ground and aerial search, using flood lights and heat-detecting cameras, the fire department said. Divers and more rescuers will also called in to assist – but no one was found.
About the same time, a Schiller Park police officer patrolling near Irving Park Road and Cumberland Avenue, about two miles from the crash site, saw a male in need of help, the fire department said. He told the officer he was in the crash and had been swept downstream by the river before he was able to get out near Irving Park Road.
The Niles resident told the officer the second occupant had also been swept away by the river, fire officials said. The first victim was then taken to Resurrection Hospital for evaluation.
The second person was later located, and told rescuers he was able to crawl out of the river before leaving the scene, the fire department said. He refused medical treatment.
The crash remains under investigation, fire officials said.