Nicholas Wieme dies after falling in skyscraper chimney while trying to shoot photo [UPDATE]

Categories: Tragedy
chicago hotel.jpeg
A Minnesota man is dead after falling in the Intercontinental Hotel's chimney (above left).
An as of yet unnamed 23-year-old Minnesota man is dead after falling in the Intercontinental Hotel building's chimney this morning in downtown Chicago.

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He was trying to take photos atop the 42-story building when he fell, the Chicago Tribune reports.

After falling 22 feet, the man hit an angled portion of the chimney, and his descent was broken. The chimney drops 42 floors to the base of the building after the angle, Sun-Times Media Wire reports

The man reportedly survived the initial fall, which happend around 1 a.m., and communicated with his girlfriend and firefighters until he lost consciousness about 3:15 a.m.

DNAinfo.com describes the ensuing rescue efforts:
Firefighters initially rappelled down the chimney, only to realize they would not be able to rescue the man from that direction, [fire chief Michael] Fox said.

Crews of more than 125 firefighters and paramedics ended up cutting through duct work and into the chimney from two floors below where the man landed and sliding him out...

It was treacherous work, Fox said, as the space the victim fell on was thick with silt, and a false move could have sent him falling.
Tragically, after finally being extricated from the building around 5 a.m., the man was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

There was reportedly no grating on the chimney opening that could've prevented the fall.

:::: UPDATE :::::

3:20 p.m. -- The victim of this morning's tragic accident has been identified as Nicholas Wieme, 23, a native of Pipestone, Minnesota who moved to Chicago to pursue a comedy career.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Wieme and his girlfriend had dined at Michael Jordan's restaurant inside the hotel Wednesday evening and then decided to "explore" the hotel, according to police. They took the elevator to the top floor and entered the rooftop deck, a restricted area, through an unsecured door, officials said.

Wieme began to take pictures and climbed a ladder along the chimney, police said. Moments later, his girlfriend lost sight of him...

"Nick experienced a good deal of success in [comedy] and followed it to where it led him: Chicago," [Nick's brother] Jamie Wieme said. "Upon arriving to Chicago, his interest switched from comedy to improv. In this, he found even more success, performing at a number of improv establishments on a regular basis. Those that watched him perform often attested that Nick had a way of unintentionally stealing the show.
Via Facebook, here's a couple photos of Nick:

nick wieme.jpeg



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