A Missouri man drowned in Lake Michigan Sunday while rescuing two small children, according to Wisconsin authorities.
The 40-year-old man, whose identity was not publicly released, went into the lake off North Beach in Racine County when he noticed two kids — family members of his — struggling by large rocks, the sheriff said.
He rescued the young children, but did not emerge from the lake.
Multiple agencies responded to the lake to help search for the man, who was found about an hour after he went missing, according to the sheriff. He was transported to Ascension All Saints Hospital, where he died.
Sheriff Christopher Schmaling views the man as “a hero,” he said in an interview with The Racine Journal Times.
“He came here with his family... and unfortunately as a hero he went in for two individuals in his family and lost his life as a result,” Schmaling said.
The man was from Montgomery City, Missouri, which is about 80 miles northwest of St. Louis, according to WDJT.
Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service issued a warning for hazardous water conditions along Lake Michigan with the possibility of life-threatening waves, the sheriff’s office said.
The area of the lake was not patrolled by Racine lifeguards, according to the Journal Times.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and his loved ones,” Schmaling said in a Facebook post. “We also encourage people to take the time to investigate current lake conditions before entering Lake Michigan and take all necessary precautions. “This, like the other unfortunate drownings this summer, are tragic, incredibly sad, and preventable.”