Man thrown from raft after hitting rapids dies, Maine officials say

Beth J. Harpaz/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Seven passengers aboard a river raft in Maine were thrown into the water after encountering a series of rapids, resulting in one death, officials said.

Brian Breen, a 57-year-old from a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut, was white water rafting with family and friends on Saturday, Oct. 1, when the incident occurred, Mark Latti, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, told McClatchy News in an email.

The raft, operated by Magic Falls Rafting Company, was traveling down the Dead River when it hit rapids, which resulted in Breen and one other passenger being “ejected” into the water, according to Latti.

The guide attempted to rescue the overboard passengers, but another rapid caused the raft to flip, propelling everyone else into the fast-flowing water, Latti said.

Other rafts in the vicinity were able to rescue everyone, but Breen was found unresponsive. One of the group members performed CPR on Breen while in the raft, but they were unable to revive him, Latti said.

Breen was brought to a funeral home in Maine, according to Latti. The medical examiner has not yet released the cause of death.

The Magic Falls Rafting Company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News. Its website says, “The Dead River’s spring runoff and heavy water releases make for the best wild whitewater adventure in New England.”

Untamed Mainer, an online travel guide, says the river “has lots of thick vegetation which makes it more difficult to rescue swimmers and gear, and the average river width is 120 feet.”

A 52-year-old Boy Scout chaperon died on the river after falling off his raft in 2016, according to the Associated Press.

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