Harford County water rescue personnel pulled four people from the Bush River Friday afternoon after a canoe capsized during a school field trip.
A county government spokesperson said Monday the mishap occurred in shallow water, which caused a boating party from a private school in Baltimore County to become stranded.
A group of 15 children from the Cambridge School in Pikesville was on the river at about 12:45 p.m., along with four parents, two teachers and a county parks and recreation official and a volunteer, when one of the group's canoes capsized, Harford County government spokesman Bob Thomas said.
The group was coming from the county operated Anita C. Leight Estuary Center on Otter Point Creek in Abingdon.
Though there were initial conflicting reports about how many were rescued, Thomas said Saturday that one adult three children were rescued and transported by medic units to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.
Although a Maryland State Police helicopter was used at the scene to help rescue personnel reach the people in the water, it was not used to transport anyone, Thomas said.
Thomas said some of those who went into the water were experiencing hypothermia-related symptoms. The last person was taken to the hospital about an hour after the incident, making it four people total who were transported to the hospital. The last person and had been complaining about being nauseous, Thomas said.
Cambridge School Head John Blumenstein wrote in an email Monday that the students who were taken to the hospital Friday were released the same day and were back in school Monday.
Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company assisted with the rescue, Thomas said.
"Heavy winds came up and capsized the canoe," Thomas said Friday afternoon about the cause of the accident.
Harford County Emergency Operations spokesman Rick Ayers also said Friday that some of those rescued appeared to be suffering from hypothermia.
According to one emergency radio broadcast while the rescue was in progress, water temperature was 50 degrees.
Harford County will be investigating the incident, Thomas said in a later phone interview Saturday. The center is part of the county's Parks and Recreation program.
"We want to know exactly what happened and why," he said, "and how we can prevent it in the future."
On Monday, Thomas wrote in an email that all necessary safety precautions were followed in using the watercraft.
He also wrote that the canoe capsized in less than a foot of water, and the students couldn't use the paddles to get back to shore because of the shallow water and mud.