Boaters safe after accident near Sullivan

Posted Aug. 20, 2009, at 7:16 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:58 a.m.

SULLIVAN, Maine — Three boaters were safe Thursday morning after the boat they were in filled with water and overturned in the Taunton River near the Sullivan-Hancock bridge.

According to Marine Patrol Officer Mike Pinkham, Tim Arney, 71, of Sullivan had taken his small boat into the river along with John Stanton, 47, and his son Henry, 6, both of New Jersey, to do some fishing. They set the anchor near the bridge, and that was when the trouble began.

The boat is a 14- to 16-foot AquaSport, Pinkham said, which sits low in the water. The men set the anchor in the stern, and with the way the tide was running up the river, it pulled the stern under. Water quickly covered the outboard and the boat was sucked under, Pinkham said.

“There are whirlpools and big tides in that area,” he said. “When they come in, they’re really moving.”

Despite the pull of the tide, Arney was able to free the anchor line and the boat drifted back up. He stayed with the boat while Stanton and his son swam to the shore.

“Fortunately, the tide was coming in and it pushed them up toward the bay,” Pinkham said. “If the tide had been going the other way, it wouldn’t have been good.”

All three were wearing life jackets.

“Life jackets are important all the time,” Pinkham said. “In this case, it saved their lives.”

A passer-by noticed the boat overturned in the river and called 911. Meanwhile, another person contacted John and Marlene Daley of Sullivan who live on the river. The couple took their skiff out to help secure Arney’s boat. Another local fisherman, Tim Doughty of Sullivan, also helped tow the boat to shore.

No one was injured in the incident and the boat had only minor damage.

Pinkham and Marine Patrol Officer Colin MacDonald were joined at the scene by rescue crews from the Sullivan and Hancock fire departments and officers from the Maine State Police.

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