December 2, 2020

MDIFW NEWS: Maine Warden Service Rescues Two Missing Kayakers in Aroostook County

TC R2 WELS, Maine - Two capsized kayakers who were stranded on opposite sides of a flooded, raging Meduxnekeag River were rescued by the Maine Warden Service last night at about 9:00 p.m., just west of Monticello.

Josh Ford, age 33, and Alec Dalton, age 24, both residents of Monticello, flipped and were separated from their kayaks when they attempted to paddle the extremely high, swift conditions of the north branch of Meduxnekeag River yesterday.

"This had the potential for a deadly outcome due to the fast, high water; and the cold water temperatures," said Game Warden Lieutenant Tom Ward. Wearing their PFDs saved their lives.

The pair started paddling at about 2:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, and paddled only about 30 minutes before they encountered swollen rapids and downed trees. Both of them flipped and were thrown from their kayaks, and became separated when they swam to opposite shores, one a mile downriver from the other. Ford located a camp to shelter in, and used his phone to call 911. Wardens travelled through flooded and washed out roads during the torrential rain to rescue them, and at one point had to bushwack 600 yards to get to the river, then search along the thick vegetation on the swollen riverbanks to get to Dalton. With temperatures in the 50s, the pair did not need medical attention, and they were returned to their homes.

The Maine Warden Service cautions paddlers who venture out in high water conditions to use common sense and to always wear their PFDs.