BROWNVILLE, Maine — Firefighters wearing cold-water rescue suits pulled two people from Pleasant River after their canoe hit a rock and capsized on Monday, officials said.
Bill Clark, 24, of Milo and Ashley Monahan, 27, of Brownville were wet and chilled but otherwise OK after Milo fire Capt. Kevin Black and firefighter Brian Glidden rescued them at about 1:30 p.m., officials said.
Though they were standing in a few feet of water, the two wisely remained on a sandbar in the middle of the river until the rescue. They could have drowned or been struck by hypothermia had they tried for shore and gotten carried downriver, Black said.
“They didn’t dare to go off that bar or to try to get back in the canoe because there was swift water on both sides of them. The water wasn’t real cold, but anytime you are in the water for a long period of time you have that risk [of hypothermia],” Black said.
“I think they just waited for help, which is a very smart thing to do,” he added.
The canoeists had started their trip from an area known as the Prairie before they hit the rock, said Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Both were wearing life preservers, she said.
Brownville and Milo police and firefighters and a Maine Forest Service worker handled the accident. With a Brownville and Milo firefighter holding their rescue line, Black and Glidden waded to the canoeists and led them to shore, Black said.
“We just grabbed the rope and let the current carry us there,” Black said.
A Three Rivers Ambulance Service crew evaluated Clark and Monahan at the scene.