NAPLES (AP) – The Songo River Queen II, a replica of a Mississippi River paddle wheeler, was back in operation Thursday following some anxious moments when a hydraulic leak prompted the evacuation of passengers.

About 85 people were on the boat Wednesday when it lost hydraulic power and began drifting after passing through the locks en route to Brandy Pond.

After tying up the 90-foot boat, firefighters managed to remove passengers using a heavy ladder and flat boards that are normally used to move injured people. Many of the passengers were residents of the Maine Veterans Home in Togus.

The problem was traced to a hydraulic leak on the vessel, which remained tied up until the spill was contained. Department of Environmental Protection officials and crews from Gorham-based Boom Technology used absorbent pads and booms to clean up the spill.

The Songo River Queen II, which accomodates up to 300 people, makes one-hour cruises along Long Lake and a 2-hour cruise across Brandy Pond and through Songo Lock to Sebago Lake.

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