Update: Coast Guard search has a happy ending

BROOKLIN — A nighttime search for what might have been a mariner in distress had a happy ending Tuesday morning when the Coast Guard located a group of campers on Long Island in Blue Hill Bay.

Shortly before 8 p.m. on Monday, Coast Guard Station Southwest Harbor heard a radio transmission that sounded like a report of a vessel in distress in the vicinity of Long Island and Tinkers Island south of Brooklin.

The Coast Guard sent a 47-foot motor lifeboat to search the area. After midnight it was relieved by a 25-foot fast response boat. Lobster boats reportedly belonging to Brooklin fishermen Josh Gray and David Tarr joined the search.

The Brooklin Fire Department was called out around 9 p.m. and a group of first responders waited with the department rescue truck at the town dock on Naskeag Point before being sent home.

Severe fog hampered search efforts throughout the night with visibility less than 10 feet. Thick fog and a low cloud ceiling prevented an air search.

Early Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard 47-footer returned to the search area. Shortly after 10 a.m. the crew spotted 10 canoes and a group of 25 adults and teenagers camped on Long Island. According to P.O. Rob Simpson of the Coast Guard 1st District in Boston, the campers were from a “local school on a weeklong trip.”

Simpson said the group leader made the distress call after the canoeists became disoriented in the fog and were being pushed down the bay by the tidal current.

The adult who made the report was unable to hear the Coast Guard’s reply, and the group came upon Long Island soon after making the distress call. They camped the night as planned.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, the Coast Guard had no information as to what school organized the canoe trip.

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Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]