AUBURN — Walking away from the boat launch after rescuing a Bates College senior and her father Saturday afternoon, Dick Vautrinot snickered, “they were just saved by Batman.”  

Vautrinot owned and operated Accurate Wildlife for 20 years, where he developed exclusive techniques specifically for bat and bird exclusions. BATMAN is the vanity plate on his truck that he backed down the boat launch off Route 4 after a successful day of fishing with his friend John Kelly of Portland.  

The two were about to head back to shore when they noticed a canoe overturned in the water a few hundred feet from Lake Shore Drive. They sped over, plucked the two canoeists out of the water, pulled the canoe up and drained the water. Just as police, ambulance and fire officials arrived on the scene, the canoe was heading to shore with the cold and wet, and slightly embarrassed paddlers. 

Gene Morris and his daughter Danielle, a senior at Bates College, were with about a dozen other canoes on an afternoon excursion organized by students during parents weekend at the Lewiston college. The pair from Ohio, both experienced paddlers, were joking about how sturdy their canoe was compared to a kayak.  

“Danielle was just telling me how hard it was to tip over her canoe when she was practicing with a friend recently, when a big wave hit us. Between the strong wind, the wave, and not paying enough attention, we just went over,” said Morris with a chuckle as he stood on the side of Lake Shore Drive, waiting for the vehicle with the canoe rack to come pick them up.  

Katie Krathwohl, of Ipswich, Mass., whose daughter Mary is a freshman at the college, talked about the outing at the boat launch where the other canoeists gathered.  

“It looks deceiving here on this side of the lake. The water is relatively calm, even now. But when we got out there, the wind really picked up, it was like a gale just blew in. It was an onshore wind that made it really hard to paddle. We are all just glad everyone is safe.”   

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: