When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Canoes

Drowning_Man_by_JanooshThere is a lesson in this nameless tragedy: two men went out in a canoe, and only one came back, but this isn’t the close of Godfather II. The survivor, too, came back without the canoe. He and his father had been fishing on a Sunday morning (22 May 16), and they capsized their canoe. The son swam to shore.

The father never surfaced. His remains were found an hour later — which is pretty quick public safety work, given the need to call out the dive team at 0730 Sunday — deceased, presumably drowned (although the ME has yet to weigh in).

As we’ll see, drowning should not be underestimated as a risk, but first, the facts of the case:

A New London man died this morning at Lake Of Isles in North Stonington, after his canoe capsized and he went missing in the water for approximately one hour, police said.

His adult son, who was in the canoe with him, made it safely to shore without any injuries.

The two were fishing when the 14-foot canoe overturned and threw them into them into the water.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was alerted to the incident around 7:30 a.m. after state police received a 911 call.

Police and local fire departments pulled the 50-year-old father from the water and he was pronounced dead on the scene at 8:45 a.m., police said.

via Man Pronounced Dead On Scene After Capsizing Canoe With Son – Hartford Courant.

As it happens, drowning is common. In this interesting comparison, interesting because one of the favorite claims of gun banners is that they only do it “for the children,” economists compared deaths of young children (<=5) in bathtubs to young children by gunfire. The bathtub is the more hazardous device by far.

Humans are fragile creatures. One aspect of that fragilty is that we cannot breathe anything but gaseous oxygen.


11 thoughts on “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Canoes


    “The canoe overturned”. This is like saying “The gun went off”. Attributing agency to inanimate objects makes us feel better about causing or being involved in such tragedies, but the reality is that one of those unfortunate men did something that tipped the canoe over.

    I just returned from a bushwalk where my partner made fun of my hiking loadout, and I told her the story of the lady who spent a miserable month dying a sad and lonely death after going off the Appalachian trail for a pee. It gave her pause for thought.

    Risk awareness, caution, thought and preparation are key ingredients for a long and happy life, even in these oh so civilised times.

    1. Hognose Post author

      We have a reality show here, “North Woods Law,” about the game wardens of Maine. (Maine is like New Hampshire with extra snow and French-accented habitants, and minus our legendary cosmopolitian cities and flashy night life). The wardens bag poachers, many of whom impress one as little smarter than the game they pursue without regard to licenses or seasons; they arrest drunken boaters and snowmobile operators; and they find lost hikers. One one of the episodes of the show some time ago they were seeking this gal.

      It’s not the Outback in its isolation but people can be lost in there for a very long time. Two French aces, Nungesser and Coli, are thought to have beaten Lindbergh across the Atlantic from Paris but gone down somewhere in Maine in 1927. No trace of them or their airplane l’Oiseau Blanc has ever been found (but they were heard overhead in the night). Clive Cussler, the novelist (and one of the discoverers of CSS Hunley) and his son Dirk followed up all the known information about ten years ago, and came up empty.

      Here in NH, we had a Learjet descend into the cumulogranite on Christmas Eve, 1996. It was found three years later by a hunter. Maybe this deer season, someone busting brush will find the Oiseau Blanc.

      1. DaveP

        The area of Ms. Largay’s misfortune is, perhaps not surprisingly, home to the Navy’s CWEST, part of their SERE training ground. Redington, ME. It’s some rugged and remote terra for sure; I’ve spend some time humping hills around there and would not want to be w/o a compass and at least a 15-min, better a set of quads.


  2. staghounds

    A couple of years ago, a nice local lady was supposed to pick the child up on a lovely spring day after school in her Jeep and didn’t show. And didn’t show. Husband reported her missing, but she wasn’t found.

    Suspicion focused on the husband, who it turned out had various difficulties including carrying on a liason with a different married lady. He stuck to his story- “I don’t know what happened to her”.

    When the leaves came off in the winter, she was found.The Jeep had slid off a mountainside road and come to rest at the bottom, upside down. She didn’t die from the crash, which was within within a hundred yards of the nearest road, a busy one. There was an occupied house within her sight. She was less than three miles from her house.

    Nature is right there in your neighbourhood, too.

  3. Loren

    As one who has tipped many a canoe over, two men in a 14 footer is an accident waiting to happen, especially if they were sitting on the thwarts instead of kneeling over the keel. Still, canoes have flotation and it’s easy enough to right them and kick to shore. Likely the dad got a lung full of very cold water and that was that.
    FYI, there’s a commercial plane with 58 people on board in Lake Michigan that never was found. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Orient_Airlines_Flight_2501
    I’d think it would be easier to find a DC-4 from 1950 in a lake than a small airplane that may or may not be in the Maine woods.

      1. Quill_&_Blade

        Funny how I’m ever stuck in the pre-internet days. Well, not always. I’ll often think of something, and not remember “hey dude, Google it”. In the case of the Edmund Fitzgerald though, I did search it. There are numerous theories as to why the ship went down. I suspect it’s not one alone, but one that intrigues me is that the ship was one of the first to be welded, instead of rivets. The rivets flex better.

  4. Greg

    I’ve seen a few drownings on North Woods Law. Interesting show. I also remember when that Lear was found. Creepy stuff.

    1. Hognose Post author

      As I understand it, Part 121 operators do not make a second attempt after a failed instrument approach, but divert to an alternate. As I understand it, these Lear guys were in solid IMC, taking a second shot at a nonprecision approach in mountainous terrain. Sure, it’s legal for Part 91 operations. Is it wise?

  5. DJ

    After assisting in teaching canoe courses at a Boy Scout camp one summer, I found that occasionally when a canoe is flipped without warning, the opposite side gunwale can come over the top and pop the previous occupant(s) (now in the water) in the head/neck area. If this is done with enough force, the recipient can be stunned, knocked unconscious, or even (potentially) killed by the impact (we only experienced the first outcome in the few times it happen on our watch, thankfully). Even if it’s one of the first two results, most folks don’t swim well under either of those conditions.

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