South Holland firefighter, 29, dies after scuba training accident

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SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. — The South Holland Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of their own Thursday after a firefighter died from injuries sustained during a scuba training exercise yesterday.

Officials say 29-year-old Dylan Cunningham was undergoing dive training at Haigh Quarry in Kankakee when he was injured in an accident Wednesday. 

While he had a diving partner during the underwater training exercise, something apparently went wrong. The details of the incident remain unclear.

Firefighter Dylan Cunningham suffered fatal injuries in an apparent accident during scuba diving training at Haigh Quarry in Kankakee Wednesday

Cunningham was initially rushed to AMITA St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, and then transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead Wednesday night.

Friends say Cunningham was engaged to be married, and his fiancé is currently pregnant with their child. Also a member of the Illinois National Guard, he was sworn in as a full-time fireman and paramedic in 2018.

The Chicago Fire Department staged an honor procession for Cunningham early Thursday morning from Northwestern Hospital to the medical examiner’s office.

MABAS Division 24 posted this commemorative image on Facebook honoring Dylan Cunningham after his death

Local officials also honored the extraordinary young man who volunteered and worked part-time at the South Holland Fire Department since 2011.

The Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office took Cunningham’s scuba gear into custody Wednesday, and it will be examined for defects or other problems that could have led to the tragedy.  

An autopsy could also shed some light on whether a medical issue, equipment problem or other cause contributed to his death. The death remains under investigation.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help raise money for Cunningham’s family.

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