Annapolis man, 59, who fell from sailboat on Magothy, dies

May 23, 2008|By Justin Fenton

An Annapolis man who fell out of a sailboat while racing Wednesday night on the Magothy River died at an Annapolis hospital, state Natural Resources Police said.

Ralph E. Reitan, 59, was among four sailors aboard a 33-foot sailboat near Ulmstead Point in Arnold about 7 p.m. when a storm quickly moved in and caused winds to pick up, said Sgt. Ken Turner, a Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police spokesman.

Turner said it was not clear how Reitan, who was not wearing a life jacket, fell from the boat. Someone from a second boat threw him a life ring and pulled him from the water, but by that time he had lost consciousness.

Reitan was transported to the shore and taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, Turner said.

An autopsy was performed yesterday, but Turner said a preliminary cause of death was not available. He said foul play did not appear to be a factor.

"What we have is some weather conditions that blew up on them, and it appears to be a very tragic accident," said Turner, who noted that today is the final day of National Safe Boating Week.

Turner said Reitan was sailing as part of a local race. The Capital in Annapolis reported that Reitan was a longtime member of the Cape St. Claire Yacht Club and had won the Magothy River Sailing Assiciation's Wednesday Night Series on numerous occasions.

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