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Alan J. Benjamin
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Alan J. Benjamin

     

CONTACT:
Lt. Todd Bogardus: 603-271-3361
Lt. Bob Bryant: 603-271-3129
Liza Poinier: 603-271-3211
March 26, 2010

Search Effort Continues for Connecticut River Kayaker

CONCORD, N.H. -- Rescue teams continued the search today for Alan J. Benjamin, age 65, of Rochester, Vt., whose kayak was found overturned in the Connecticut River yesterday, March 25, 2010.

Benjamin told family members that he was going on a kayak trip, and was last seen at home at about 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. His vehicle was later found parked at the North Thetford, Vermont boat launch, where presumably he launched his kayak into the Connecticut.

Some time after 6:00 p.m., the Hanover Fire Department took a call reporting an overturned kayak about one mile north of the Hanover Bridge. The kayak was located 13 miles south of the North Thetford boat launch, and was identified as Benjamin’s. Later, a woman reported that she had seen an overturned kayak about 6 miles south of the launch on the afternoon of the 25th.

Searchers from the Hanover Fire Department, Hanover Police Department and the N.H. Fish and Game Department searched for Benjamin until 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, with support from the DHART (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team) helicopter.

A full-blown search effort resumed this morning (Friday, March 26, 2010). Fish and Game Conservation Officers, the Hanover Fire Department, Lyme Police Department, Lyme Fire Department, a State Police helicopter and New England K-9 Search and Rescue air-scenting dogs are on the scene. The primary search area is in Lyme, N.H., several miles downstream from the boat launch but north of where the overturned kayak was reportedly seen earlier in the day.

N.H. Marine Patrol yesterday issued a safety warning for those recreating on state waters, noting that most rivers and streams are high and fast because of early snowmelt, and all waters are extremely cold this time of year, making immersion dangerous. Marine Patrol recommends safety precautions including: file a float plan, don’t go into areas that you are not familiar with, watch for areas of fast current or where depths can fluctuate quickly, have at least one other person with you, and wear a life jacket.

N.H. Fish and Game has received several reports of individuals out with canoes and kayaks on fast flowing streams and rivers. “We cannot stress enough to individuals to use extreme caution and make the necessary provisions for the unexpected,” said Col. Martin Garabedian of Fish and Game. “We recommend to never go out alone in these types of conditions, and to have all the proper safety equipment.”

No further information is available. Updates will be posted at http://www.wildnh.com.

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