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Lawsuit filed against Maine Maritime Museum over schooner mishap in Kennebec River

On July 30, the Mary E capsized while on a cruise with 15 passengers and three crew members, all of whom were rescued.

BATH, Maine — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above aired Aug. 2, 2021.

A passenger on a schooner that tipped over in the Kennebec River is suing the Maine Maritime Museum. 

A lawsuit filed this month contends the museum’s historic schooner, the Mary E, wasn’t seaworthy and was operated by untrained staff in bad weather. 

On July 30, the Mary E capsized while on a cruise with 15 passengers and three crew members, all of whom were rescued. 

Museum spokesperson Katie Spiridakis declined to comment on the suit but said the safety of museum guests and passengers “is of utmost importance.”

The Mary E was built in 1906 and underwent a million-dollar restoration a few years ago. It is owned by the Maine Maritime Museum.

Camden attorney William H. Welte had filed a complaint in late August requesting exoneration from or limitation of liability in U.S. District Court in Portland, arguing that the museum "used due diligence to make the subject vessel seaworthy and safe" and that it was "properly equipped and supplied, and in all respects seaworthy and fit for the services for which she was engaged."

RELATED: Attorneys ask federal court to protect Maine Maritime Museum from lawsuits in connection with capsized schooner

Peter Nordlander, who was visiting Maine from Texas, captured the moment the Mary E capsized.

"I threw out all the life jackets to passengers," Nordlander told NEWS CENTER Maine back in August. 

Nordlander said he knew something was wrong when the boat started to tilt too far.

"It tilted more and more. The wind increased. The boat tilted more and more very slowly. You first saw water coming in from the railings," he said.

He said it wasn't his first time being on a boat that capsized. He said he knew what to do and climbed up the boat to avoid going into the water.

RELATED: 'I was never scared': Passenger aboard historic schooner captures video as it sank in Maine river

"I was never scared because first of all the water was very warm and the boat sank very slowly. No one was crying," Nordlander said.

Local crews rescued all 18 people and brought them to shore. The U.S. Coast Guard said three people were transported to a medical facility.

"Bath did a really great job at responding to what could have been a little more serious situation," Nordlander said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video below aired Aug. 2, 2021.

RELATED: Historic 'Mary E' schooner capsizes in Kennebec River in Bath; police say more than a dozen passengers all accounted for

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