CLEVELAND — Five people were rescued in two separate cases during the annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, Sunday on Lake Michigan.
According to the United States Coast Guard, one person was rescued by a good Samaritan after falling overboard during the race and four people were rescued by the Coast Guard after their sailing vessel capsized during the race.
The Coast Guard says the first case took place shortly after midnight local time, approximately 40 miles east of Port Washington, Wisconsin. The person was wearing a life jacket and a personal locator beacon and was in good condition despite being in the water for over an hour. The good Samaritan who rescued the person was also competing in the race.
In the second case, the Coast Guard says three red flares were reported by a good Samaritan approximately 30 miles east of Fox Point, Wisconsin, shortly after 1 a.m local time. The good Samaritan, who was a part of the race, arrived on the scene of the flare's origin and reported that the vessel had capsized and four people were on top of the vessel's hull. The good Samaritan was unable to render assistance due to weather conditions.
The vessel had capsized due to a series of 35 mile-per-hour winds that shifted from the south to the northwest very quickly. Only two of the four people on the vessel's hull were wearing life jackets. They did have an electronic position indicating radio beacon and flares.
The Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay, which was near to assist in cases of distress, and an Air Facility Waukegan MH-65 helicopter crew was diverted and arrived on scene simultaneously. The MH-65 helicopter hovered over the distressed vessel and provided assistance with their spotlight while a small boat from the Biscayne Bay rescued the four people and transferred them to the cutter.
All four people were reported to be in good condition and did not require medical attention.
The Coast Guard strongly recommends boaters wear their life jacket at all times while underway in case of unexpected weather conditions. Additionally, a personal locater beacon and signaling devices, like flares, can greatly reduce search time and increase rescue probability.