AUBURN, Maine — The Maine Warden Service has summoned the owner of a boat rescued Thursday night from the edge of an Androscoggin River dam.
Paul Duclos’ boat, a Bayrunner, had four passengers aboard, including his wife, Arlene, who said she doesn’t swim. Yet the boat had no life preservers and its registration had expired, Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Capt. Raymond Lafrance said.
About 8 p.m. Thursday, the boat’s engine stalled in the area above the great falls between Lewiston and Auburn. It drifted downstream until it came to rest on the dam’s edge near the train trestle.
It teetered there while Lewiston and Auburn fire departments, LifeFlight and the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department worked to get the occupants to safety.
Auburn firefighters managed to throw the boaters a line and slide preservers to them. Later, an Auburn rescue boat towed them to shore while a county rescue boat guarded the rescuers from the river’s fast currents.
“It was a precarious situation,” Lafrance said. “That boat was in real distress. The people in it were in real distress.”
Despite all the help provided to get the occupants to safety, they likely won’t be charged for the rescuers’ costs.
“The city of Auburn won’t engage in that practice,” Auburn Fire Chief Frank Roma said Friday. “While this was a very dangerous situation, this was what we train for.”
It’s unlikely that the county will seek payment either, Lafrance said.
“We haven’t looked at that,” he said. “I can’t remember us charging anyone for a rescue.”
Lafrance, a veteran boater, said he hopes the incident serves as a warning to people.
“You’ve got to make sure you have all of your emergency equipment,” Lafrance said. “You have to make sure you have life jackets and a rope and an anchor, so if something does happen, you can throw your anchor in and you can secure it before you do get in a dangerous situation.”
Paul Duclos said Thursday he had not used the boat in more than a year. The Duclos and the couple riding with him are from Lewiston.