UPDATED 1:55 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.
THE FORKS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Maine Game Wardens are continuing to investigate the death of a paddler who was killed in a rafting incident on the Dead River in The Forks.
Richard Sanders, 67, of York, was thrown from a raft that was being navigated commercially for North Country Rivers Kennebec Whitewater Rafting through the Mile Long Rapid portion of the river.
Sanders was submerged for several minutes after being swept into what wardens call a 'hydraulic.'
Maine wardens equate these hydraulics to getting stuck in the rinse cycle of a washing machine -- making it very difficult to get out of.
When NEWS CENTER stopped into North Country to speak with the owner, the mood was very somber. No one was willing to go on camera but one man did tell NEWS CENTER that he was a guide on the trip and that this was a situation where the water changed very quickly.
North Country owner Jim Murton says their thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.
NEWS CENTER also received a statement from Energy Sciences Inc. (ESI), which is where Sanders worked, the President of the company says Sanders "was one of the kindest most considerate souls I have had the blessing to know. He brought charm and a level of comfort to all the worlds he traveled – he was special, he will be missed by many."
Wardens have said they're not sure if there might have been some type of medical emergency in addition to the drowning.