Two canoes were washed ashore by high winds on Ripogenus Lake. Credit: Courtesy of Maine Department of

Maine game wardens rescued nine people on Friday after their canoes capsized on Ripogenus Lake.

The group said they were using a makeshift sail on the canoes. As they came down the lake, the wind came up suddenly and overturned the canoes, which led to five people in the water, according to Mark Latti, communications director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Wardens were contacted at 11:37 a.m. by the Bangor Regional Communication Center who said they received a call via a satellite phone from an Outward Bound canoe group before they were disconnected, Latti said.

Wardens arrived on the scene approximately 15 minutes later and determined the approximate location of the canoes and found there were still people in the water. Wardens found three people clinging to an overturned canoe near the middle of the lake. Another canoe had two people paddling with two people in the water being towed. The final two members of the group were found on the opposite side of Ripogenus Lake, Latti said.

All of the people in the group were accounted for by 12:15 p.m.

The people on the trip ranged in age from 22 to 40, and all of them were wearing lifejackets. The trip consisted of camping, backpacking and canoeing, Latti said.

They were taken to a to a Maine Warden Service house located at Rip Dam. Four of the nine people were treated for hypothermia.

Ripogenus Lake is located in a remote area of Piscataquis County. The weather was dangerous for boating since winds were creating white cap waves that were 4-6 feet high on the lake, Latti said.