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Five rescued after flares fired in Chicago Yacht Club race

Biscaine Bay

Five people have been rescued during the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac with help from competitors after flares were fired.

One person was rescued by a good Samaritan after falling overboard during the race and four were saved by the Coast Guard after their yacht capsized during the race.

The first rescue came around midnight one day in July on Lake Michigan, around 40 miles east of Port Washington, Wisconsin, by a racer.

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.

An hour later, three red flares were seen around 30 miles east of Fox Point, Wisconsin. Another competitor reported that the vessel had capsized and four people were on top of the hull, but was unable to come to their aid due to poor weather.

The vessel capsized after 35 mile-per-hour winds quickly shifted from the south to the northwest. Only two of the four people on the vessel's hull were wearing life jackets, but they did have 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 arrived on scene at the same time. The MH-65 helicopter hovered over the distressed vessel, illuminating the scene with its spotlight, while a small boat from the Biscayne Bay rescued the four people. All were reported to be in good condition and did not require medical attention. 

The U.S. Coast Guard strongly recommends boaters always wear life jackets in case of unexpected weather conditions and carry flares, which can greatly reduce search time and increase the probability of rescue.

The main image is of Biscayne Bay and is credited to U.S. Coast Guard/Lt. Antonio Valentin.

Jul 26, 2017