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Historic Maine schooner capsizes during tour on Kennebec River; 18 rescued

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 7/31/2021 Caroline Enos

A historic schooner capsized and sent 18 people into the Kennebec River in Maine during a tour Friday evening, officials said.

The schooner Mary E was sailing near Doubling Point when it capsized around 5:30 p.m., Bath Deputy Police Chief Michelle Small said.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

The vessel was carrying 15 adult passengers and three crew members when it went into distress, Small said. One woman was taken to the hospital for a precautionary evaluation.

Small said all 18 people were rescued from the water by the Coast Guard, Bath Fire Department, Sea Tow, and with help from Good Samaritans.

The Mary E was partially submerged by the time it was towed to shallow water near the Maine Maritime Museum, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

It is no longer a hazard for other vessels in the area, the Coast Guard said.

“We commend our partners in the Bath community for their prompt and effective response which saved the lives of 18 people,” said Captain Amy E. Florentine, Coast Guard Sector Northern New England Commander, in the statement. “We will ensure a full and thorough investigation is conducted in order to determine what caused the incident.”

Built in Bath in 1906, the Mary E has operated as a fishing schooner, cargo carrier, a passenger-carrying windjammer, and “even rumored to have been a rum runner,” according to the Maine Maritime Museum’s website. The schooner was restored in the museum’s shipyard from 2017 to 2018.

“At this time we are working to determine what factors may have contributed,” said museum spokesperson Katie Spiridakis in an e-mail Saturday morning. “We are grateful for the rapid response of the crew and the multiple agencies that assisted in quickly bringing those aboard to shore.”

Caroline Enos can be reached at caroline.enos@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.

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