The fisherman who fell into Diversey Harbor and the off-duty firefighter who rescued him embraced during a reunion this morning.
At about 7 a.m., Chuck Wahtola and Billy Miller gave each other a big hug at Engine Company 42, 55 W. Illinois St., where Miller is stationed.
Wahtola, a 67-year-old retired engineer from Joliet, slipped while getting out of his folding chair and fell into the near-freezing water on Jan. 4.
Miller was fishing nearby and quickly sprang into action, pulling Wahtola up against the breakwater and holding him up with a rope until help arrived. He was briefly hospitalized, but came through the ordeal well.
"What was going through my mind was I have to get him out of the water as fast as I can because the water is 32 degrees," said Miller this morning, recounting the rescue for reporters.
Said Wahtola: "My thought going in the water was I know Billy is close by, and all I have to do is yell for help."
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