Wardens rescue canoeists after capsizing on Ripogenus Lake
T3 R12 – Maine Game Wardens rescued a group of capsized canoeists in high winds on Ripogenus Lake on Friday, October 18.
Shortly before 11:40 a.m. Bangor Regional Communication Center contacted the Maine Warden Service and said they received a call via satellite phone from an Outward Bound canoe group near Ripogenus Dam on Ripogenus Lake. The caller advised that there were nine people in their group. Due to high winds five people were in the water and at least two canoes were overturned. Bangor then lost contact with the caller.
Ripogenus Lake is located in a remote area of Piscataquis County off of the Golden Road and is connected to Chesuncook Lake. The weather was dangerous for boating as winds were creating white cap waves 4-6 feet high.
Game Warden Cpl. Andrew Glidden and Game Wardens Robert Johansen and Kim Bates responded to the scene. Johansen arrived approximately 15 minutes after the initial call and determined the approximate location of the canoes and that there were still people still in the water.
Glidden and Johansen launched a boat and were able to locate three people near the middle of the lake clinging to an overturned canoe. The three people were brought into the boat and transported to a Maine Warden Service house located at Rip Dam. Another canoe with two people in it were paddling down the lake towing two people in the water was located closer to shore. These four were retrieved from shore by Bates and Glidden and taken to the Rip Dam house.
Two more from the group were on the opposite side of Ripogenus Lake and were located and retrieved by Johansen via a road that parallels the lake in that area. All the people were accounted for by 12:15 p.m.
Four of the nine people were treated at the Rip Dam house for hypothermia and checked out later by a member of the ambulance service from Northern Light CA Dean Hospital out of Greenville that responded to the scene.
This trip consisted of nine people aged 22 to 40 who camped, backpacked and went canoeing. The group said that they were using a makeshift sale on the canoes and while coming down the lake the wind came up suddenly when the incident occurred. All were wearing lifejackets.
The Maine Warden Service was also assisted by Penobscot River Corridor Ranger Tammy Bishop at the scene.