New York Kayaker Likely Drowned in Freezing Maine Pond

by Jennifer Shea
VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A New Yorker probably drowned on Sunday when his kayak flipped over on a pond in Maine.

Yohanna Milad Israel Rizk wasn’t wearing a life jacket and didn’t know how to swim, the Bangor Daily News reported. He fell into the 47-degree water of Bryant Pond at about 1:30 p.m.

Rizk, 28, tried to hold onto his kayak before slipping under the water, Mark Latti, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, told the Daily News.

“The friends who were watching him saw him tip over,” Latti told the New York Post. The friends reportedly jumped into two kayaks and paddled over to look for him but couldn’t find him.

The Maine Warden Service and the Woodstock Fire Department searched the pond for Rizk on Sunday afternoon. They found a glove he’d been wearing when his kayak capsized.

On Monday, an eight-person dive team in two boats, including one with sonar, began to search the waters for Rizk’s body.

“There are boats and divers in the water,” Latti told the Post. “They are searching in the area where he was last seen by friends. It is very windy, but that should not hamper operations.”

Rizk had lived in the East Village of New York City. He joined with 11 friends to rent a cabin on the lake. But he went kayaking on his own. 

It is not clear why Rizk went out alone, Latti told the Post. The waters where he was kayaking are about 40 feet deep. Rizk was an inexperienced kayaker.

Bryant Pond is a 276-acre body of water near the towns of Greenwood and Woodstock in Maine. It is located in Oxford County. And it also plays host to the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center. 

The pond has a maximum depth of 63 feet.