Sailor goes overboard during Race to Mackinac, search underway

CHICAGO — The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a person in the water about four miles northeast of Navy Pier after a sailor fell from a boat participating the Race to Mackinac Saturday afternoon.

A boat in the race's "turbo" section called the Imedi issued a man overboard alert around 2:45 p.m. Saturday, CFD Deputy District Chief Ron Dorneker said. The missing sailor is believed to be a man in his 50s, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Imedi heads to the start of the Race to Mackinac on Saturday, July 21, 2018. (Photo: Jeremy Mews)

The Imedi was just beyond the Chicago Harbor Breakwall when the man overboard alert was issued, race officials said in a statement. The U.S. Coast Guard, CFD marine and dive operations, and police marine units all dispatched a water rescue response, Dorneker said, including helicopters and fast boats.

Four other boats from the turbo boat division stayed behind to assist with the search. Ships were enduring six-foot waves and winds of about 15 miles per hour at the time of the rescue.

The Chicago Fire Department picked up from the search effort at 6 p.m., according to a post on Twitter.

More than 3,000 sailors from 39 states and 16 countries are participating in the 110th annual race from Navy Pier to Mackinac Island, MI. The 333-mile race can take two to three days, depending on the winds.

The Coast Guard maintains that this is still a search mission, not recovery. Dorneker said the water temperature is 70 degrees, which makes a rescue more likely.