Chicago Yacht Club’s Report on ‘Race to Mackinac’ Drowning Prompts Safety Changes; Focus on Life Jacket that Didn’t Inflate


A 61-page report has been released revealing new information regarding a sailor who fell overboard and died during a sailboat race last July.

The Chicago Yacht Club issued a 61-page report that has highlighted two main factors in the death of Jon Santarelli, who went overboard on Saturday July 21, 2018, and drowned in 6-8 foot waves.

Deficient factors in saving Santarelli’s life, included 1) an old or poorly maintained inflatable life jacket, 2) a lack of sufficient deployment of rescue floatation devices.

The Hammar inflator for Jon Santarelli’s life vest should have been replaced every five years, but the life jacket issued by the boat owner was 11 years old and it was doubtful that the inflator was ever replaced.

In retrospect crew members think they should have deployed more floatation devices. Crew members only had 6 minutes to react to save Santarelli’s life.

Saturday July 21, 2018 …

2:26 p.m. Jon Santarelli fell overboard.

2:28 p.m. Santarelli looked comfortable in the water, but life jacket had not inflated.

2:30 p.m. Santarelli went under and resurfaced 20-30 feet away.

2:32 p.m. Santarelli slipped surface and was not seen again (his body was recovered on Saturday July 28, 2018 about 12:30 p.m.).

The Chicago Yacht Club report is titled …

Review Committee Report on the Fatal Accident Involving Imedi During the 2018 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac on July 21, 2018 (Published: February 25, 2019)


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