Passers-by rescue 2 boaters in Lincoln pond

Posted May 11, 2011, at 8:43 p.m.
Last modified May 11, 2011, at 10:36 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Passers-by apparently jumped into a boat and rescued two other boaters who had capsized amid heavy wind and waves on Upper Coldstream Pond on Wednesday night.

The two men who capsized, whose names and conditions were not immediately available, apparently suffered from hypothermia. They were treated at Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln late Wednesday, firefighters said.

Without the intervention of strangers, the two victims might have been in deep trouble, Lincoln Fire Chief Phil Dawson said.

“The people here deserve big kudos because the water is rough and there were winds blowing at 35 to 40 mph,” Dawson said Wednesday. “If we didn’t have rescue here, or on the way, it could have been a bad a situation as you could have seen.”

“I don’t think they had a lot longer to go,” Dawson added.

The incident was reported at 7:39 p.m. and the Lincoln Fire Department was paged out at 7:42 p.m., said a dispatcher at Penobscot Regional Communications Center of Bangor. The boaters were reported out of the water by 7:52 p.m., so they were in the water for at least 15 minutes.

Stanhope Mill Road resident Sue Blood, whose home overlooks the pond’s southern shoreline, might have been the first person to notice them. Blood was in the kitchen of her home working with her daughter on the girl’s school science project when she thought she heard yelling.

“When I opened the door, I could clearly tell that somebody was yelling for help,” Blood said, “but I could not see them. Once I started down the stairs I could see them.”

The two men were less than halfway across the pond, which is about two-thirds of a mile at its widest point, and already in the water when Blood first saw them. Blood immediately called 911. She saw another set of boaters in a single boat bring the men to shore, where she hustled them inside her house and wrapped them in blankets, Blood said.

By this point, a doctor who lives nearby and several firefighters had started to arrive and care for the men, who explained that their boat couldn’t handle the water and wind, Blood said. She praised firefighters for responding so fast.

“Other people must have called for help because they were here within 10 minutes,” Blood said. “The doctor was great, too, in terms of knowing what to do to help” the victims.

Blood did not recognize the victims or their rescuers.

Initial reports that a third man was in the water were inaccurate. What appeared to witnesses to be a third head in the water was actually the boat’s motor, Dawson said.

Also known as the Big Narrows, Upper Coldstream is located off Forest, Stanhope Mill and Transalpine roads about six miles southeast of downtown Lincoln, one of 13 bodies of water entirely within the town’s limits.

“It’s been very windy here the last few days,” Blood said, “but today was exceptionally bad.”

BDN reporter Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.

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