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Police stress importance of life jacket safety after young man drowns in Geneva Lake

Posted at 10:27 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 23:45:55-04

WILLIAMS BAY, Wis. — A 22-year-old man slipped out of his life jacket before drowning at Geneva Lake, according to police.

Fadi Albazi, of Morton Grove, Illinois was tubing when he fell off into the water.

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"We happen to be out on the water, coming in off the water right about the same time that happened. We saw the emergency crews going out towards the area where it was happening," said Steve Oke. He and his family were visiting from out of town.

"Certainly when we heard the news, it was pretty scary," Oke said.

"He was wearing a life jacket, but the life jacket was either not secured or not the right size, slipped off as a result," said Geneva Lake Police Commander Tom Hausner. "Started to struggle. People on the boat tried to rescue him."

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Albazi was found 128 feet underwater near Williams Bay.

"Beyond words. It's a sound, it's a sight, it's a thought you never want to experience," Hausner said.

Hausner went on to say this is the third drowning in two summers and that the two from last year were not wearing life jackets.

First responders stressed a good fitting life jacket is key.

Hausner advised making sure the life jacket or personal flotation device fits your size and weight, is not ripped, torn, or worn and the straps all work.

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"If you can take it off without unsnapping it or unzipping it, it's not fit properly. You should be able to keep it on secure. If it's snapped and snug, it shouldn't come off without you snapping it or unzipping it," Hausner said.

A couple of days after the tragedy, Oke said their family was even more diligent before hitting the water.

"You can overlook some details or something, but I think an incident like that has really made me think twice today when we were going out there, and have some fun, to make sure their jackets were fitted correctly," Oke said.

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