Kayaker rescued by Coast Guard in Harrington

Posted Sept. 05, 2011, at 12:50 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 05, 2011, at 4:27 p.m.

HARRINGTON, Maine —- A 62-year-old man was pulled from the water off Pineo Point on Sunday night after his kayak apparently overturned in the Harrington River, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The agency issued a press release Monday morning in which it said the incident was reported around 8 p.m. Sunday by a female friend of the kayaker after she had been watching him from shore and lost sight of him. The names of the kayaker and the friend were not included in the press release.

The Coast Guard sent a boat from its station in Jonesport and a helicopter from another station in Cape Cod to search for the missing kayaker. After looking for about two hours, and with the help of night vision goggles, the boat crew spotted the man wearing a life jacket and clinging to the kayak. He was rescued from the 60-degree water and then taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for evaluation.

“Because he was wearing a life jacket our crews were able to locate him faster, and it helped him conserve energy so he could stay with his kayak,” Joaquin Layola of the USCG Command Center in Boston said in the statement. “This case really highlights how wearing a life jacket can save your life.”

According to Petty Officer Kenneth Robinson of the Coast Guard in South Portland, the kayaker lives outside of Maine and was taken to Down East Community Hospital for evaluation. Robinson said Monday that he did not know any more details about the incident and that further information would not be available until Tuesday.

In 2010, between 70 and 80 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, according to the Coast Guard. Of those who drowned, 85 to 90 percent were not wearing life jackets, the agency wrote in its press release.

Wearing a life jacket is not a guarantee of survival, however, especially when hypothermia is a factor. Two other kayakers, one of whom was wearing a life jacket and one of whom wasn’t, died earlier this summer while paddling in the waters off Mount Desert Island.

Eric Hogan, 28, of Webster, Mass., was wearing a life jacket and shorts when he paddled away from Hancock Point in a sit-on-top model of kayak on the morning of June 19. Stiff winds blew him out into Frenchman Bay, where his body was recovered from the chilly water later that day.

Steven M. Brooks, 43, of Stratham, N.H., died July 10 in Eastern Bay off Lamoine after his kayak capsized between Lamoine State Park and Hadley Point on MDI. Brooks had a life jacket with him but was not wearing it when the incident occurred, according to Maine Marine Patrol officers who responded to that incident.

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