Man falls nearly 40 feet from Biddeford-Saco bridge onto frozen river, found ‘semi-conscious’ by rescuers

Posted Feb. 04, 2014, at 4:31 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 04, 2014, at 7:37 p.m.

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BIDDEFORD, Maine — A man was hospitalized Tuesday afternoon after falling nearly 40 feet from a bridge and landing on the frozen Saco River, a Biddeford rescuer said.

Deputy Chief Kevin Duross of the Biddeford Fire and Emergency Services Department said Tuesday that rescuers responded to a report that a man fell from the so-called Black Bridge connecting his city with Saco.

“The report was that he’d fallen off onto the ice,” Duross said of the man, who he did not identify but said was in his 50s. “When we arrived, we found what appeared to be an unresponsive person on the ice.”

Duross said the bridge is between 30 and 40 feet over the river, which is currently frozen.

Biddeford rescuers, wearing specialized equipment and tethered to the shore, walked 250-300 feet over the ice with sleds to reach the man, he said.

When they reached him, Duross said, they found the man “semi-conscious,” but in serious condition.

“The ice never broke through, but the potential danger for him being out there in the cold air, on the ice with multiple systems trauma, was significant,” he said. “It could have been several minutes out on the ice, which could certainly lead to hypothermia in the state he was in.”

Duross said rescuers were able to get the man into a Saco ambulance in less than 30 minutes, and he was transported to Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford.

“Right now, we don’t know [whether the man will survive his injuries],” Duross said. “He is at the hospital, where he’s being treated.”

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