A 45-year-old man drowned in the South Branch of the Chicago River on the Near Southwest Side when he tried to help a woman onto a bridge early Sunday, authorities said. 

Chicago police, firefighters and divers responded to the intersection of West Cermak Road and Canal Street to a call of a person falling in the water just before 1:30 a.m.

Scuba divers located the man in the water about an hour later and pulled him onto shore. First responders lined a rung of stairs below the bridge and shined flashlights into the murky water to help the rescuers.

Paramedics rushed the man onto a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance, water dripping from his clothes. They performed CPR on the man for several minutes before shutting the doors and driving to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, where he was in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead. 

The man apparently was trying to pull a 52-year-old woman onto the Cermak bridge from below it, police said. 

Police were conducting a death investigation. 

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