CHICAGO
12/13/2012 11:35 am ET Updated Dec 13, 2012

Magnificent Mile Hotel Fall: Man Dies After Plunging Into Smokestack While Trying To Take A Photo

A 23-year-old man died early Thursday after he fell down the smokestack atop an upscale hotel on Chicago's Magnificent Mile.

Identified late Thursday morning as Nicholas Wieme by police, the man had climbed onto the dome of the InterContinental Hotel, 505 N. Michigan Ave., and was taking photographs from a restricted 42nd floor balcony around 1 a.m., according to ABC Chicago.

When Wieme climbed a ladder to reach the top of an adjacent smokestack, he fell 22 feet inside and became wedged in an elbow of its shaft, NBC Chicago reports.

The Chicago Tribune reports that crews cut through the smokestack's wall during a rescue that took four hours before Wieme was taken, unconscious, to Northwestern Memorial Hospital around 5:05 a.m. He died at the hospital shortly thereafter.

According to the Tribune, Wieme was an aspiring comedian who grew up in Minnesota and lived on Chicago's North Side.

In a statement issued Thursday, Raymond Vermolen, the hotel's general manager, said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, that the hotel "holds the safety, comfort and well-being of our guests and employees as our top priority and concern. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the guest at this difficult time. The hotel staff will continue to cooperate fully with authorities in their investigation."

More than 100 firefighters participated in the rescue effort, according to Fox Chicago.

Photo by swanksalot via Flickr.

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