RACINE — Authorities say a 62-year-old Middleton man trying to fix an issue on his sailboat in Lake Michigan went overboard and drowned Tuesday night near Racine.
Multiple agencies responded to a vessel in distress call about 10:30 p.m. near the Racine harbor, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
Officials said a Racine Fire Department boat brought Greg Jackson, who was unresponsive, to shore. Jackson was reportedly transported to Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints hospital, 3801 Spring St., where he was pronounced dead.
The Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday morning that it “appears that this was a tragic accident.”
Officials said Jackson was the captain of a 44.5-foot Catalina sailboat, which the U.S. Coast Guard identified as the Jacqui Marie. Jackson was on the boat with a 63-year-old friend from St. Peter, Minn.
The boat appeared to leave Milwaukee about 6:30 p.m., according to data from marinetraffic.com, which tracks boat travels.
After an issue arose with a sail toward the bow of the boat, the friend saw Jackson in the water, according to the news release. The friend got Jackson back into the boat and called for assistance.
The U.S. Coast Guard responded and launched a boat from Kenosha and a helicopter that circled about a two-mile radius to search for the boat, said Ensign Tom Morrell, the Coast Guard’s public information officer.
The helicopter got the attention of residents, such as Perry Kivolowitz, who lives near Reefpoint Marina, where the boat was still docked Tuesday.
Kivolowitz said the noise got him out of bed, and after looking out at the marina, he realized it could be a serious situation.
“Red and blue lights were flashing, and the spotlight was on and the flashlights could be seen on the boat itself,” Kivolowitz said.
Jackson did not have connections to the Racine Yacht Club or Reefpoint Marina, officials at those organizations said.
His family could not be reached for comment.