Hypothermia, drowning to blame for 2 Maine canoeists' deaths

By The Associated Press | Posted - Aug 3rd, 2015 @ 2:51pm

JONESPORT, Maine (AP) — The deaths of two canoeists off the coast underscore a deadly fact: The North Atlantic remains cold enough to kill even on a picture-perfect summer evening.

The state medical examiner concluded Monday that 58-year-old Roy Carlile and 53-year-old Judith Carlile, of Warrington, Pennsylvania, died from hypothermia and drowning.

The couple paddled out into Chandler Bay in a canoe Friday evening, presumably to see the sunset or rising blue moon, Coast Guard Lt. David Bourbeau said Monday. They were still wearing life jackets when their bodies were recovered on Saturday and Sunday.

The water temperature in Chandler Bay remained 50 degrees on Monday, cold enough to kill within hours if someone became submerged without a dry suit or a wet suit, officials said.

The Coast Guard declined to estimate how long someone could've survived in water that cold.

"You can't put a time on a person's will to live," Bourbeau said.

The Carliles had owned a summer home in Jonesport for years, and they were known to paddle around in a 13-foot canoe, often traveling to Roque Island. It's unknown how they ended up in the water.

Because the Carliles didn't alert anyone to their outing, no one knew they were missing until Roy Carlile's body was found entangled in lobster gear about a half-mile from his home Saturday morning, less than 12 hours after they went paddling. Judith Carlile's body was found Sunday morning.

The Coast Guard urges paddlers to have float plans, wear life jackets and carry portable marine radios, which can be more useful than cellphones for seeking help. Some paddlers also use portable locator devices that automatically send signals when submerged, the Coast Guard said.

"They have to tell people that they're going out there," Bourbeau said. "That way if they don't return we know to look immediately. When we're talking hours of survivability in cold water, the sooner the Coast Guard and other authorities are notified, the sooner we can begin searching."

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