- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

WEST FORKS, Maine (AP) - A Massachusetts man chaperoning his son’s Boy Scout trip to Maine died after falling into the water on a whitewater rafting trip, officials said.

Michael Arena, 52, of Lexington, Massachusetts, was on a commercial rafting trip Saturday when he tumbled out as the raft traveled through rapids on the Dead River, said Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service.

Arena was pronounced dead by an ambulance crew after he was pulled from the water, MacDonald said Tuesday.

Arena was one of two chaperones overseeing a group of four teenagers that included his son; also on the raft was a guide employed by North Country Rivers, MacDonald said.

The incident remains under investigation.

North Country Rivers owner Jim Murton declined to comment Tuesday other than to say many reports he’d seen about the incident contained inaccuracies.

Nearly 70,000 people pay commercial outfitters to lead whitewater rafting trips each year in Maine, and there hasn’t been a death in several years, MacDonald said.

In 2008, a Maine man and a Massachusetts man died in separate incidents during commercial whitewater rafting excursions on the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers.


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