Old Town woman rescued after flipping kayak in Penobscot River

Posted May 07, 2011, at 7:25 p.m.
Last modified May 08, 2011, at 4:48 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — A kayak capsized in the Penobscot River near the Milford dam on Saturday afternoon, and its occupant was nearly swept away in the swift-moving current before another kayaker came to her rescue and emergency personnel reached the two.  

Jennifer Marshall’s watercraft flipped just before 3 p.m., and Wayne Sanborn, address unknown, immediately started to paddle out to her, Old Town firefighter-EMT Dan Bean said.

When rescuers arrived on the scene, Sanborn and Marshall, who lives in Old Town, were about 200 feet above the dam, where the current is very strong, the firefighters said late Saturday.

“When we got to her she was clinging to the side of a kayak” paddled by Sanborn, Bean said. “The current was so swift he was actually paddling in place.

“She kept saying, ‘I can’t make it anymore. I can’t make it anymore.’”

Sanborn also was exhausted, Lt. Matt Redding said.

“She spent at least eight minutes in 40-degree water,” he said.

“We had to make a rescue from above,” Bean said. “It was a little more tricky.”

Bean and Redding pulled her out of the river at 3:02 p.m.

Marshall was taken by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor to be checked for exposure.    

Her blue and white Cloud kayak went over the hydroelectric dam.

The Penobscot Regional Communication Center received a rash of calls from concerned people, Redding said.

While Bean and Redding were getting Marshall into their rescue boat, other boats from Orono and Milford were there for backup.

After her kayak capsized, Marshall was able to put on a life jacket she had in the boat, and that probably saved her life, Bean said.

“Lucky. She’s very lucky,” he said.

“There was not a moment to spare,” Redding said.

A nursing supervisor at EMMC said Sunday that Marshall was treated and then released from the hospital Saturday.

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