STANDISH — A pickup truck that was found submerged Tuesday in a canal off the Presumpscot River had been reported stolen Monday night from a hotel in Portland.

No one was in the white-and-gold Ford F-150 with South Carolina license plates when it was pulled from the water Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s a big relief,” said Cumberland County Sheriff’s Lt. Tom Williams, because authorities feared someone could have been submerged with the truck.

Portland police said the pickup was stolen Monday from the Travelodge Hotel on Brighton Avenue. It was spotted in the water early Tuesday by an employee of Sappi Fine Paper, which owns the dam and does routine checks of the power station near the Eel Weir Dam.
Emergency crews from Standish, Gorham and the sheriff’s office responded.

Williams said the truck was trapped against the dam’s spillway. Workers from Sappi lowered the water level in the canal to try to ease the current. The clay on the floor of the canal caused the water to become murky.

Divers from the sheriff’s office went into the water just before 1 p.m. and searched for a victim for about 20 minutes. They then attached cables to the truck, which was lifted from the water by a crane.

Williams said a set of skid marks was visible on the dirt access road to the canal.

Standish Fire Chief Brent Libby said fuel that appeared to be gasoline seeped from the truck into the water. Officials contacted the state Department of Environmental Protection, and Libby said the dam was shut down to allow the gasoline to evaporate.
The dam will be reopened today.


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