Two brothers are recovering after nearly drowning when their canoe began taking on water in the Allagash Waterway.

67-year-old Larry Fiori of Kennebunk and 67-year-old Michael Fiori of Brunswick were fishing on Umsaskis Lake just before 8:00 Tuesday night when bad weather started to move in. The men decided to make haste and motor back toward shore when the canoe started taking on water. Both men were forced into the water when the canoe became submerged. Wardens say neither of the brothers was wearing a lifejacket.

Michael Fiori made it to shore and was helped by a group of boy scouts who were camping at Sandy Point and had heard his cries for help. Larry Fiori, however, was unable to make it to shore and spent nearly two hours in the water, clinging to a portion of a life jacket and a floating fuel tank that was used for the outboard motor. Cell service was not immediately available in the remote area, but an emergency call finally went through at about 10:30 p.m. and the Maine Warden Service and Ashland Ambulance responded.

On their way to the scene, wardens learned that Larry had made it out of the water and was being transported to a Presque Isle hospital to be treated for hypothermia. Allagash Waterway Rangers recovered some of the brothers' belongings, but couldn't find the canoe, which is believed to be on the lake bottom.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reminds all boaters of the importance of wearing life jackets.Simply having life jackets on-board during an emergency may not allow time to fasten them on, when they're needed. Water temperatures are still very cold, increasing the importance of wearing the life jackets at all times.

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