Game wardens rescued a group of canoeists from a remote lake in Piscataquis County on Friday after high winds caused two of the vessels to overturn, sending five people into the water.

The call for help came at 11:37 a.m. from an Outward Bound group that had set out on Ripogenus Lake, which is off the Golden Road and is connected to Chesuncook Lake.

High winds created white-cap waves of 4-6 feet on the lake, the warden service said. The group of nine canoeists reported that two of the canoes overturned and five people were in the water.

A game warden responded and was on the scene within about 15 minutes, the warden service said, and soon other wardens arrived and launched a rescue boat. They found three people in the center of the lake clinging to an overturned canoe. Two other people were also in the water being towed by another canoe, which was being paddled closer to shore.

Four people were treated for hypothermia at the Rip Dam warden house, and were later checked out by a local ambulance crew from Greenville. The group told wardens that they were using a makeshift sail on the canoes when the wind came up suddenly, causing the vessels to overturn. Everyone involved was wearing life jackets.

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