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Maiden voyage turns tragic

Nov. 8 -- A Wisconsin man is missing after he fell from his 35-foot sailboat into Lake Michigan off Milwaukee Saturday.

Jeff Waldman, 56, of Glendale, Wis., was trying to untangle the boat’s rigging when a wave hit the boat, sending him into the 55-degree water, news reports say. Waldman’s wife, his 18-year-old son and a family friend were also on board at the time of the accident.

A distress call was sent just before 2 p.m., reports say. When Waldman went overboard, the other passengers threw him several items, including a flotation cushion, but he had apparently drifted too far from the boat to reach them. By the time the first boats responded, Waldman had disappeared.

It took Waldman a number of years to construct the boat and Saturday was its maiden voyage, a report says. Waldman was not wearing a PFD at the time of the accident.

Coast Guard and Milwaukee Fire Department officials searched for Waldman for several hours Saturday evening and Sunday but were unsuccessful, according to reports. The accident is under investigation.

— Jason Fell