Updated 12:45 p.m.
PROSPECT HARBOR — Two kayakers died and one was rescued Wednesday in the waters off Prospect Harbor. The victims and survivor were recovered approximately half way between Cranberry Point in Gouldsboro and Petit Manan Island, according to Maine Marine Patrol reports. The victims were wearing t-shirts and shorts, . All members of the party were wearing life jackets.
The names of the victims have not yet been released.
The Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol and several good Samaritans had been searching for the three missing kayakers since about 6:30 p.m., when Coast Guard Sector Northern New England in Portland received a report from a woman claiming her husband and two others went kayaking and did not return at 4:30 p.m. as planned. The kayakers reportedly put in at Corea around 1 p.m.
A brief summer squall hit the area late Wednesday afternoon. According to the surviving member of the party, the trio encountered rough seas at some point during their day trip, likely caused by the passing weather front. The waves, reportedly three to five feet high, caused all three kayaks to capsize in the approximately fifty-two degree water.
A 47-foot motor life boat crew from Coast Guard Station Southwest Harbor and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Air Station Cape Cod launched. The Marine Patrol and several good Samaritans joined the search.
At about 8 p.m., a local lobster fisherman located one of the kayakers clinging to the hull of an overturned kayak. She was reportedly hypothermic and unable to speak. The 47-foot motor life boat crew transferred her from the lobster boat to awaiting emergency medical services at Prospect Harbor. She was then transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where she is recovering.
At about 8:38 p.m., another lobster fisherman found the second kayaker, who was unresponsive. They transferred him to paramedics at Prospect Harbor where he was later pronounced dead.
At approximately 10 p.m. the third victim, a 54 year old male, was located by another fisherman. Maine Marine Patrol personnel recovered the third victim who was also pronounced dead at the scene. He was transported to paramedics at Prospect Harbor where he was also pronounced dead.
The two deceased individuals have been transported to the Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta for an autopsy.
“This is a very tragic outcome,” said Kenneth Stuart, the command duty officer at Sector North New England. “We deeply appreciate the efforts of those local boaters who assisted tonight and we’ll be working to determine what happened and how to prevent such accidents from occurring in the future.”
The investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing and involves the Marine Patrol and the Coast Guard. This story will be updated as more details become available.