Police: Waterville duck hunter found safe after escaping kayak on Kennebec River
The duck did not escape him, but the kayak did.
The owner of the wayward boat was found safe and sound late Tuesday, after rescuers searched the Kennebec River area in Hallowell earlier today for the missing occupant.
Hallowell Police Department Chief Scott MacMaster said on Wednesday the unidentified man was duck hunting on the Kennebec River in the Waterville-Winslow area when he attempted to retrieve his second duck of the day. Instead, his kayak pulled away from him and floated downstream for about 19 miles.
“Luckily he was doing fine,” MacMaster said. “He was not blocked”
Police received a call at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday reporting a kayak floating free in the Kennebec River.
Officers who responded to the river could see a backpack inside.
The Maine Marine Patrol launched a boat to retrieve the kayak and found a freshly shot duck and shotgun shell inside the boat, indicating that it had been used for duck hunting and that the occupant could be in the river or stranded somewhere, according to MacMaster.
Rescuers searched the area, with the maritime patrol using a plane and boat, but no sign of the owner of the kayak was found.
Hallowell Police posted information about the kayaking on the department’s Facebook page, which the man who hunted the duck saw later that day.
“He had chased the duck the night before and shot a duck, put it in one kayak and was chasing another when the kayak slipped out of his hands,” MacMaster said, recounting what the man told the police when he called them.
The chief said he didn’t know more about the man except that he was from Waterville.
“I think he was a little embarrassed,” MacMaster said. “He apologized a lot. We had a conversation with him about reporting the vessel (after he escaped), so we could at least backtrack. “
MacMaster said the incident involving a free-floating empty boat was not that unusual. In his two years as Chief of Police Hallowell, this was the third such incident he encountered.
Once a boat escaped someone and floated to Gardiner. Another time, a kayaker swung into the river in the middle of high water and ran aground.
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