Monday, December 2, 2019

Maine Game Wardens Use Hovercraft to Rescue Pair on Penobscot River

MILLINOCKET, Maine -- Maine Game Wardens used a hovercraft to rescue two Millinocket men who attempted to go hunting yesterday, one who was in a small boat trapped on the ice on the Penobscot River, and the other stranded on the river shore.

Hunter Cote, age 18, and his uncle, Jason Hartley, age 42, both of Millinocket were attempting to cross the Penobscot River in Millinocket to go hunting when they became stuck around noon yesterday.

The pair were in a 14-foot aluminum boat without a motor and towing a canoe as they rowed toward the opposite shore when they became stuck on thin ice that had formed. The ice was too thin to walk on, and too thick to break with the boat, but Cote was able to get to shore in the canoe. Utilizing a rope, he started to pull in Hartley who was still in the aluminum boat, but the rope broke, setting Hartley adrift down the river and over rapids before he became stuck in the ice in another section of the river.

Game Warden Andy Glidden was the first to respond, and assessing the situation, contacted Game Warden Sergeant Ron Dunham who retrieved the department hovercraft, a vessel that can operate in shallow moving water, as well as on ice. Dunham towed the hovercraft near to the area the pair was stranded, launched the hovercraft and first rescued Hartley, and then rescued Cote who had walked over a ½ mile looking for an area to cross the river.

The pair were brought to shore, evaluated but did not need medical treatment. Both were wearing lifejackets.

Proposed Cutline For Photo: Game Warden Sergeant Ron Dunham maneuvers a hovercraft over the thin ice and towards shore after rescuing a stranded hunter on the river (Photo Courtesy of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife).