Sailor who went overboard during Race to Mackinac ID’d

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CHICAGO — A sailor who went overboard during the Race to Mackinac has been identified as a Lincoln Park man.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for Jon Santarelli, 53, who fell from a boat participating in the Race to Mackinac Saturday afternoon about four miles northeast of Navy Pier. The CPD Marine unit is continuing their search, but now considers it a recovery mission, not a rescue mission.

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. Officials suspended the search after seven hours of search efforts.

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

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

Santorelli had more than a decade of offshore racing experience, and was a core member of the Imedi Racing team as well as the greater Chicago sailing community, officials said.

Jon Santarelli, 53

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

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