T3 R12, Maine – Maine Game Wardens rescued a group of capsized canoeists in high winds on Ripogenus Lake earlier today.
At approximately 11:37 a.m. today (October 18, 2019), 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 9 people in their group. Due to high winds five people were in the water and at least two canoes were overturned. Bangor RCC 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 that were 4-6 feet high on the lake.
Game Warden Corporal Andrew Glidden, Game Warden Robert Johansen, and Game Warden Kim Bates all responded to the scene. Warden Johansen arrived on scene 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.
Game Warden Corporal Glidden and Game Warden 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 4 people were retrieved from shore by Warden Kim Bates and Corporal Andrew Glidden and taken to the Game Warden House at Rip Dam.
Two more from the group were on the opposite side of Ripogenus Lake and were located and retrieved by Warden Johansen via a road that parallels the lake in that area. All the people were accounted for at by 1215 hours.
Four of the 9 people were treated at the Rip Dam Warden House for hypothermia and checked out later by a member of the CA Dean Ambulance out of Greenville that responded to the scene.
This trip consisted of nine people and were in ages from 22 to 40. This trip consisted of some camping, backpacking and canoeing. The group said that they were using a makeshift sale on the canoes and while coming down the lake and the wind came up suddenly when the incident occurred. All of them were wearing lifejackets.
Maine Warden Service was also assisted by Penobscot River Corridor Ranger Tammy Bishop at the scene.