RACINE — Racine County and city leaders are looking for solutions after three people including a 10-year-old girl had to be pulled from Lake Michigan in recent days.
"Anytime we have children die in a community, it really rocks the emotions of all of us, especially when there's senseless deaths that could've been prevented," said Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling during a press briefing Tuesday.
- 10-year-old girl, teenage boy drown in Lake Michigan in Racine: Officials
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Over the weekend, 10-year-old Eisha Figuereo Colon, known as Naomi, drowned at Zoo Beach. Moments later, 17-year-old Yaadwinder Singh was pulled from the water at North Beach and later died at a hospital.
Singh was a student at the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District. The school district released a statement saying:
"It is with heavy hearts that our OCFSD community mourns the tragic loss of OCHS student Yaadwinder Singh. Our sincerest condolences and sympathy go out to the families and friends affected by this tragedy. Members of our Student Services Team will be on hand to offer any needed emotional support to our students and staff.”
On Monday, a 14-year-old girl was pulled from Lake Michigan near North Beach and taken to Children's Wisconsin. As of Tuesday morning, officials said she was fighting for her life.
Sheriff Schmaling stressed that Lake Michigan can be unforgiving with its conditions and called on the City of Racine to do more to prevent these tragedies. The sheriff proposed the city extend hours when lifeguards are on duty. However, cities across southeast Wisconsin are struggling to fill those very positions.
"The solution is we need to reach out and hire more people that are trained lifesavers, posting more signs in danger zones. We need to hear more about those danger zones. But to have people that are trained on that beach ready to respond, in my view, could've made a difference here," Schmaling said.
"It's terrifying. It's really sad and scary to think that young lives cut short so soon," said Heather Martirock, a mother from out of state who was visiting North Beach with her family.
Martirock says swim lessons are crucial for her family and she is now checking water conditions for what can be an unpredictable Lake Michigan.
"We are from Minnesota and our lakes don't really have conditions. They don't have riptides or anything like that, so it's not something. So I'm glad you mention that, because will have to think about that when we're out there," Martirock said.
City of Racine officials said they reviewing beach and water safety programming and plan to discuss pier safety and lifeguards with the county.
Racine County's dive team will be at North Beach from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday to teach people about dangerous lake conditions and water safety.
The city released the following statement: