Huffpost Chicago

Gustavo Bracino, Maintenance Worker, Dead After Violent Storms Lead To Flash Floods, Outages

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Andy Fowler
Andy Fowler

One man is dead after violent storms slammed Chicago Wednesday night, trapping the man in a sewer amid heavy rains that brought flash floods, power outages and transit delays.

The Cook County Medical Examiner identified the deceased maintenance worker to HuffPost as 25-year-old Gustavo Bracino Jr.

Bracino, of suburban Glendale Heights, was working a routine contract construction job in Avondale around 8:30 p.m., CBS Chicago reports.

Police tell the Tribune Bracino was working with another contractor and was wearing a wetsuit and harness as the storm kicked up. At one point, Bracino removed his harness to access a confined space when the water swept him away.

The rescue effort lasted several hours, bringing out the police department's special helicopter and marine units. Reports indicate the rescue was called off around 10:30 p.m. and became a recovery mission. Crews found Bracino's body around 11 p.m. a block from the Elston and Rockwell site.


(Credit: Peter Nickeas of the Chicago Tribune)

"When we first got here, the contractor had the camera going both ways in the sewer to see if we could find him faster and maybe make this a rescue instead of a recovery, but it didn't turn out," Chief Michael Fox of the Chicago Fire Department Special Operations told NBC Chicago.

Elsewhere in the city, reports of rain, hail and cars trapped in flooded viaducts poured in over police scanners and emergency channels. A flash flood warning was in effect for Chicago until early Thursday morning. The Sun-Times reports between one and three inches of rain fell overnight, while quarter-size hail fell in northwest suburban Des Plaines, according to the National Weather Service.

Flooding along the Eisenhower and Kennedy Expressways brought traffic to a standstill, while NBC reports strong winds toppled a portion of a Union-Pacific freight train, blowing seven cars onto their side at Kedzie Avenue. O'Hare and Midway both reported flight delays of up to an hour; O'Hare canceled 50 flights Wednesday.

Nearly 15,000 ComEd customers were without power following Wednesday night's storms, though ABC Chicago reports that by Thursday morning, that number was trimmed considerably to roughly 3,500 mostly in Cook and DuPage counties.

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