Wife, Bystander Unable To Help Man Who Drowned After Saving His Dog

CHICAGO, USA -- She and her husband, Vasily Fedorouk, an internationally renowned sculptor from Westmont, were playing with their dog, Era, near Horsetail Lake in the Cook County forest preserve in Palos Township on Sunday morning.

Vasily Fedorouk, internationally renowned sculptor from Ukraine, gave his life to save his 2 1/2 year-old German hunting terrier dog.

It was the first time they had taken the dog to the location, and Arapova was leery. "There were a lot of weeds [along the shore]," Arapova said.

The 2 1/2 -year-old German hunting terrier went into the lake to fetch a ball but got caught in some vegetation. Fedorouk, 59, jumped into the lake, freed the family pet but wound up getting entangled himself, officials said.

"He was waving his hands in the water," Arapova said. "At first I thought he was joking. Then he went underwater and I started to scream. I couldn't help him. I can't swim."

Arapova said another man at the scene, who also couldn't swim, called police on a cell phone. Police and paramedics arrived about eight minutes after the incident, Arapova said, but it was too late.

Fedorouk was found submerged in 6 to 8 feet of water and later was pronounced dead. An official with the Cook County medical examiner's office said Monday that Fedorouk died of accidental drowning. Arapova said police told her that Fedorouk apparently got caught in fishing line.

On Monday, Arapova and her son, Anton Fedorouk, 24, were grieving and making funeral arrangements for a man who was being recalled as a hardworking, passionate artist.

"He would work from sunup to sundown on his sculptures," Arapova said. "That was his passion. He would want to be remembered for his art. He [once] told me that after he dies, his art will still live on forever."

Fedorouk, who immigrated to the United States with his wife from Ukraine in 1992, attended the Lviv Academy of the Arts, in Lviv Ukraine, in the mid-1970s.

Fedorouk's Web site states that his works have been exhibited internationally and are in private collection in the United States, Ukraine, Russia, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Brazil, Norway, Korea and Israel. Fedorouk also donated many public pieces, including a piece for the Seattle 1990 Goodwill Games. Fedorouk used a variety of hard materials, including bronze, wood, clay and his greatest love -- stone -- in his sculptures.

Arapova said Fedorouk made a living making pieces for private collectors.

Some of his pieces are on exhibit in the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago.

Anton Fedorouk was not surprised that his father risked his life for Era. "He loved our dog. He would do anything to save it."

Source: Chicago Tribune