Canoeist capsizes twice in same day off Blue Hill

Posted April 11, 2010, at 9:48 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:45 a.m.

BLUE HILL, Maine — A canoeist who capsized his boat early Sunday morning in Blue Hill Bay returned to the scene later in the day with another canoe to retrieve the first — only to capsize a second time.

Neal Pettigrew, 60, of Blue Hill swam ashore to Long Island and was later picked up by Maine Marine Patrol, according to OS1 Tim Sperry of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. Pettigrew was taken to Blue Hill Memorial Hospital as a precaution but did not suffer serious injuries, Sperry said.

Pettigrew told officials that he first set out from Blue Hill Falls early Sunday morning. At some point, he overturned his canoe and swam back to shore. The man said he then returned to his home to get a second canoe, Sperry said, and ventured back out, ostensibly to recover the canoe he lost in the morning.

Pettigrew’s bad luck continued. His second canoe capsized — this time when he was farther from the mainland. Instead of swimming ashore, he swam to Long Island, a large uninhabited island in Blue Hill Bay, Sperry said.

A Coast Guard vessel went to Long Island, but Sperry said Pettigrew already had been recovered at that point. At least one of the man’s canoes was recovered.

The water in Blue Hill Bay was 42 degrees on Sunday, according to Sperry. Winds were 10-15 knots and seas 2-4 feet, which is relatively mild.

Sperry said Pettigrew was wearing a wetsuit when he was rescued.

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