GOULDSBORO — A local kayak guide and a New Jersey man died Wednesday after their kayaks capsized off Corea harbor.
Dead are Edward Brackett, 63, of Birch Harbor, owner of SeaScape Kayak, and Michael Popper, 54, of Plainfield, N.J.
Popper’s wife, Jennifer Popper, 48, survived. She told officials the kayaks were capsized by waves that suddenly swelled to up to 5 feet.
Marine Patrol spokesman Jeff Nichols said the Poppers and Brackett were kayaking near Corea.
“According to the surviving member of the party, the trio encountered rough seas at some point during their day trip, likely caused by a passing weather front,” Nichols said.
“The waves, reportedly 3 to 5 feet high, caused all three kayaks to capsize in the approximately 52-degree water,” he said.
All three were found about halfway between Cranberry Point and Petit Manan Island.
Jennifer was found unconscious and clinging to her kayak, Nichols said.
Brackett and Michael Popper were unresponsive when found and efforts to revive them were futile, he said.
The party left for their kayaking trip about noon. The Coast Guard and Maine State Police were notified at 7 p.m. that they were overdue, he said.
A search and rescue effort was launched and involved Coast Guard vessels, Maine Marine Patrol, a Maine Marine Patrol Protector vessel, a Coast Guard helicopter and area fishermen.
Marine Patrol officials said Jennifer Popper was discovered after 8 p.m. by a local lobster fisherman.
She was transferred to a Coast Guard vessel and then shore and was taken by LifeFlight of Maine to Eastern Maine Medical Center, where she is recovering.
One of the men was discovered about a half-hour later by a lobster fisherman. The man was unresponsive, was transported to shore and was pronounced dead by local emergency medical services personnel.
The second man was found about 10 p.m., also by a fisherman. Maine Marine Patrol personnel recovered the victim, who also was pronounced dead at the scene.
Nichols said the Marine Patrol reported that the three kayakers were wearing T-shirts and shorts and all were wearing life jackets.
The Medical Examiner’s Office will be conducting an autopsy on the bodies of the two men.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing and involves the Maine Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard.
New Media Editor Cyndi Wood contributed to this report