Two dead, six rescued after boat capsizes during Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND – The search for two missing sailing race participants concluded this morning as crews found the two boaters unresponsive in the vicinity of their capsized boat.

Divers from a Charlevoix County dive team found the two boaters at 8:44 a.m., EST.

The two boaters were participating in the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac.

The U.S. Coast Guard received initial notification from a private company that monitors personal locator beacons, reporting that two PLBs aboard the sailing vessel Wingnuts had been activated.

Radio watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, Mich., established communications with the sailing vessel Sociable, who were assisting with the coordination of a search by other responding sailing vessels in the vicinity. The crew of the Sociable pulled six of the eight crewmembers from the Wingnuts out of the water.

A rescue crew aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat from Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, Mich., arrived on scene and located the capsized sailing vessel. Crewmembers knocked on the hull of the vessel in an attempt to discern whether or not people were trapped inside. Receiving no response from inside the vessel, the rescue crew began their initial search pattern.

A crew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., also began searching.

The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw arrived on scene to assume the role of on-scene commander and coordinate ongoing search efforts. Search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie contacted Charlevoix County to request dive team support. The Air Station Traverse City helicopter crew transported the dive team to cutter Mackinaw, which was used as a dive platform.

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