UPDATED 5:25 p.m.: Game Warden's Service has declared Richard Sanders death caused by drowning. The Medical Examiner's Office has not released a report at this time.
BINGHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Game Wardens say 67-year-old Richard Sanders of York died in a commercial whitewater rafting incident on the Dead River near Bingham.
Sanders was on a commercial rafting trip guided by North Country Rivers based out of Bingham, according to wardens.
Sanders was in a raft carrying seven passengers, including the guide. Game wardens say all passengers were ejected when the raft flipped on a remote portion of the river called Mile Long Rapid. Some witnesses indicated Sanders might have been submerged in the river for several minutes. Wardens say he was pulled out of the water.
North Country Rivers employees and civilians performed lifesaving measures, but were unsuccessful, according to wardens.
Sanders was wearing a life jacket as required by law and helmet as required by the rafting company’s policy, according to wardens. West Forks Fire and Rescue as well as the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department assisted on scene. Game wardens continue to investigate this incident.
The president of the company Sanders worked for, Energy Services, Inc. released a statement to NEWS CENTER Saturday night.
"Rick Sanders was not just a consummate professional, but also one of the kindest, most considerate souls I have had the blessing to know, " wrote president/COO Ed Maguire. "He brought a smile, a charm and a level of comfort to all the worlds he traveled whether it was business, or being Santa for youngsters and adults alike or spinning a lathe to create a wood art that oozed personal affection. He was special. He will be missed by many."
We will continue to monitor developments to this story.