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Dispatch call prompts rescue response; area planes OK

By Gabriel Blodgett | Oct 09, 2019
Photo by: Gabriel Blodgett From left: Rockport Deputy Harbormaster Eliza Massey, Harbormaster Abbie Leonard, and Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley return to the docks after responding to reports of a possible downed aircraft off Beauchamp Point.

Rockport — Rockport Fire, Police, and Harbor departments were called into action following reports from a resident concerned about an aircraft over Penobscot Bay Oct. 9.

Knox County Regional Airport Manager Jeffrey Northgraves said an individual in the area was using a web site called FlightAware to track a plane, and this particular plane had information available including its altitude. When the resident saw the altitude drop to zero, he worried there was a crash and called emergency responders.

Northgraves said he has checked in with all of the aviation companies at the airport, checked radio traffic and other reports and there is no sign that any plane in the area had a problem.

Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley said Knox County Regional Dispatch received a report from the man on Beauchamp Point, who tracked the plane through the site and it was flying low, heading toward Camden before it disappeared.

The Rockport Police Department was contacted at 10:44 a.m., at which point, Peasley said, he headed to Rockport Harbor to see what was going on.

Peasley, Rockport Harbormaster Abbie Leonard and Deputy Harbormaster Eliza Massey left Rockport Harbor on the Harbormaster’s boat, Andre, at 11:12 a.m. equipped with a cold water rescue suit.

When they arrived in the area, however, they made contact with a fisherman, who reported seeing a plane flying low toward Camden before gaining altitude and heading over the Camden Hills.

Leonard said the previous day the harbor staff had been doing cold water rescue training and were well-prepared for the situation, while Peasley said the response demonstrated the ability of the different town departments to effectively work together in an emergency.

Editor's note: This story has been edited to remove reference to a local aviation company after we learned it was not involved in the incident.


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