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Christmas Tragedy: Illinois Teenager Dies in Ice Fishing Accident


"God must need a very special angel"

An Illinois teenagers' life was cut short this week after he and his father fell through into an icy pond while fishing Tuesday evening. Though Frank Hallor escaped the frigid water with his life, his 15-year-old son, Michael, died after being trapped under the ice for more than 90 minutes before volunteer rescue divers could reach him.

The father-son pair had been fishing at the Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Area near Glasford, Ill., when the tragic accident happened Wednesday, just days before Christmas.

The father and son had finished fishing and were walking back toward their vehicle near an entrance just off U.S. Route 24 in the Peoria County portion of the park when the ice beneath the elder Hallor gave way. The father was pulling himself to safety when the boy crashed through the ice.

Several other fishermen in the area rushed to help the pair, and Frank Hallor eventually helped his son out of the water. The father was instructing him to crawl toward the shore when the ice broke again, and the boy sank out of sight. ...

The Copperas Creek Dive Team says Michael's father was lucky to be alive after a hunter and other fishermen helped pull him from the water. But his miraculous survival likely provides little solace after losing his son whose body was recovered 15 feet beneath the water's surface.

According to local news reports, Michael was revived after being submerged for 90 minutes in the frigid lake water Tuesday, but died early Wednesday, more than 12 hours after arriving at the hospital in an emergency helicopter.

"The terrain we had to go to to get to the initial area where they were and they [got] the father out on the ice, it can get thinner as you go out," dive team member Kenny Phipps told local NBC affiliate WEEK.

According to Michael's obituary, his younger brother, Seth, considered him to be "the greatest big brother." The Canton High School freshman is also described as an "avid" St. Louis baseball fan.

Jeff McClure, one of the bystanders who helped pull Mr. Hallor to safety, says the man was hysteric, crying for help for his son.  "I didn’t know what to think about that — I was the last one to see him, see [Michael's] head go under," McClure recalls.  "It's Christmas and a 15-year-old kid just lost his life... It's sad and it's Christmas.  A mother is without her son and a father is without his son."

"I'm glad the dad made it out, but I wouldn't want to live through what he has to now," McClure says.

"He was a very quiet person, a good kid," Maxine Welker, Michael's grandmother, told the PJ Star.

"God must need a very special angel," his obituary says, "so He called Michael home."

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