Lake Michigan paddler ‘killed in action’ after battling high waves and high winds amid canoe competition


FRANKFURT, Mich. – A canoe competition held on Lake Michigan turned deadly over the weekend when a racer died after falling from his boat multiple times.

According to Michigan Canoe Racing Association, one of its members, Nick Walton, fell out of his canoe several times during an unaffiliated race from Point Betsie to Peterson Beach. The Coast Guard was called when organizers could no longer see him boarding his boat. Walton was picked up by helicopter and immediately taken to hospital.

The Frankfurt Fire Department said it was dispatched at 2:10 p.m. on Saturday for a kayaker in difficulty. According WOOD TVWalton was transported to Munson Hospital in Traverse City after being rescued and pronounced dead.

The Michigan Canoe Racing Association wrote on Facebook that the air temperatures during the race were in the 50s, the waves were big and the winds were strong.

Below is the message from the City of Frankfurt Fire & Rescue:

Below is a Facebook post from the Michigan Canoe Racing Association:

According University of Michigan, Walton has worked for the Department of Infrastructure and Facilities Planning since 2017, where he installed and maintained storm sewer flow and water for the entire campus.

Walton is said to have competed in numerous canoeing competitions, including the AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

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