SEBEC, Maine — A state game warden and two members of the Sebec Fire Department saved a 17-year-old Guilford boy from drowning Friday afternoon.
The rescue took place at 2:30 p.m. after the teenager, whose name was not released, went for a swim in Sebec Lake, according to Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service.
High water levels that resulted in a strong current carried the teenager over the Sebec Lake dam and into the Sebec River, MacDonald said. He said the current was so strong it stripped the boy of his clothes and made it impossible for him to swim to safety.
The swimmer was, however, able to temporarily cling to a single concrete abutment in the middle of the river while his rescuers were working to save him, MacDonald said.
Game Warden Dan Carroll and the two Sebec firefighters — Joe Legere and Bobby Slama — were able to throw the boy a lifeline and pull him to the river’s edge, MacDonald said.
Legere said Friday night that the near-drowning was reported by a woman across the street from the lake. The woman, who was outside with her children, heard the cries for help and called 911.
Legere had stopped for lunch at a nearby convenience store and Slama, who had a life preserver and other rescue equipment in his truck, was just up the road when the call came in.
Legere arrived on scene at the same time as the warden and the two ran through the woods along the shoreline to catch up to the teen, who had been swimming with his best friend.
“Everything works out in the boy’s favor today,” Legere said.
Legere said that he, Slama and other Sebec firefighters have undergone swift water rescue training and occasionally are called upon to use it, such as during local canoe races.
“That training really paid off today,” he said.
Legere attributed the dangerous water conditions to the copious rains that have fallen in Maine over the past few weeks.
“It was really hot today,” he said. “I understand his wanting to go swimming but I wish he would have picked a safer spot. I just think he learned a very good lesson today.”
The boy, whose father showed up at the scene with some dry clothing, was treated for minor injuries by Dover-Foxcroft emergency medical personnel, MacDonald said.
“He was cut on his shoulder, bumped his head and had cuts on his hands,” Legere said. “Otherwise, he was none the worse for wear.”