OTIS, Maine — A 75-year-old Korean man who was vacationing in Maine drowned Tuesday morning after his kayak overturned on Beech Hill Pond, according to the Maine Warden Service.
Hong Sohn of Seoul, South Korea, was about 300 feet from shore when his boat capsized shortly before 10 a.m., according to Warden Sgt. Chris Simmons. Sohn tried to swim to safety before he sank below the water’s surface.
“Unsuccessful attempts were made from people on the pond to help him,” Simmons said. “He was approximately 30 feet from shore when he just quit swimming.”
Sohn, who was visiting Maine with his wife, was not wearing a life jacket, Simmons said, adding that the exact cause of Sohn’s death has yet to be determined.
Sohn is the third kayaker to die this summer while kayaking in Hancock County. All three lived outside of Maine.
Steven M. Brooks, 43, of Stratham, N.H., died July 10 in Eastern Bay between Lamoine and Bar Harbor after his kayak overturned in the bay.
Brooks had eaten a picnic lunch with others at Hadley Point in Bar Harbor before he started paddling back to Lamoine State Park, where he had been camping with others that weekend. Hadley Point and Lamoine State Park are about one mile apart.
Brooks and a woman paddling a separate kayak each had life jackets with them but were not wearing them when he capsized during their return journey.
On June 19, Eric Hogan, 28, of Webster, Mass., drowned when strong winds pushed his sit-on-top kayak out into Frenchman Bay from Hancock Point on the final day of his honeymoon.
Hogan had gone out paddling that morning by himself wearing only a life jacket and shorts, Maine Marine Patrol officials said at the time of the incident. Police believe Hogan used a kayak that came with a house he and his wife were renting at Hancock Point.
Though exact numbers were not immediately available early Tuesday evening, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokeswoman Edie Smith said approximately 10 people have drowned in boating and swimming accidents so far this year.
“Many of the boat-related drownings were totally preventable,” she said. “The simple fact is that [most of the victims] would have survived had they been wearing life jackets.”