Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce had to be transported to Maine Medical Center after his kayak capsized on Sebago Lake on Wednesday afternoon.
Joyce was taken by ambulance to Portland Hospital as a precaution to be treated for symptoms related to hypothermia, Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon said in a statement.
A hospital spokesperson said Joyce was treated and released.
Joyce did not respond to a voicemail Wednesday night. What he was doing on the lake was unclear. WGME-TV quoted a passerby as saying Joyce was laying down mooring lines when her kayak overturned.
Members of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Standish Fire and Rescue Department and Maine Warden Service responded to a report of a boating accident off Hearthside Road in Standish around 2:30 p.m.
A man who witnessed the crash from shore used a dinghy to get to Joyce and pull him to shore. The man told WGME-TV he asked Joyce to let go of the kayak and hold on to the canoe as he paddled to shore.
Once ashore, rescuers identified him as the sheriff before transporting Joyce to hospital.
Sebago Lake’s water temperature is around 48 degrees, Gagnon said.
As with all boating accidents involving possible injury, the Maine Warden Service will investigate.
Mark Latti, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, advises boaters to wear a life jacket when heading out to a lake or river, as water temperatures at this time of the year remain extremely cold, sapping energy and making swimming difficult. It was unclear if Joyce was wearing a life jacket.
A 75-year-old Perry man drowned last week when the 12ft aluminum boat he was using to check baitfish traps overturned on East Pike Brook Pond in the Downeast Maine. Lindon Rockwell was thrown into the water without a life jacket.
Rockwell’s friends ashore encouraged him to swim to shore, but he was 350 feet away. He was unable to cover that distance and drowned.
Game wardens found a life jacket floating in the water near the boat and another life jacket stuffed under the bow of the overturned boat.
“Inland waters are still extremely cold this time of year, and hypothermia can set in quickly,” game warden Joe McBrine said of the incident involving Rockwell. “Wearing a life jacket can save your life if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly.”
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