Search of Leominster reservoir ends with no sign of person in water
LEOMINSTER — Traffic on Route 2 was backed up for more than two hours Thursday afternoon while boats and rescue crews from multiple departments searched Notown Reservoir following a report of a capsized canoe and possibly a person in the water.
The search efforts were called off around 2:30 p.m., after crews only found a red canoe, but no other proof of a person in the below-40-degree water.
A 911 call alerted authorities at about 12:20 p.m. from someone who reported seeing a canoe with what might have been a person hanging off the side, according to Leominster Fire Chief Robert Sideleau.
Sideleau said no canoeing is allowed in the reservoir, which is a drinking water source for Leominster.
Boats, drones involved in search
Three boats, drones and a helicopter were used in the search led by the Leominster Fire Department. State police and other departments also assisted.
The right lane of Route 2 East was closed for the duration of the search, as about 15 rescue vehicles were parked along the metal barrier of the road, right across the shore.
The sighting was reported to have been near the corner of Route 2 and Palmer Road, not far from Great Wolf Lodge.
While some rescue crews were used at the beginning of the search, dive teams stood by the coast of the reservoir. They weren’t used in the efforts.
Shortly after calling off the search, Sideleau called the 911 report as “a good intent” call, a term often used to describe a false alarm but without any malicious intention.
He said there was reason to believe that the canoe could have been in the water through the winter and become visible as the snow melted.
Traffic was cleared within 15 minutes of the end of the search.
The red canoe, visibly dingy from having been in the water, was removed by state Department of Transportation crews who loaded it on one of the trucks.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Water search and rescue at Notown Reservoir in Leominster