Two men fell through the ice on Crawford Pond Saturday night, requiring rescue from emergency responders, including a sheriff’s deputy who went into the water himself in an attempt to pull one of the men out.
The two men ― Craig Dennison, 38, of Warren and Donald Holbrook, 28, also of Warren ― were taken to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport. While Dennison remained in stable condition Sunday at the midcoast hospital, Holbrook was transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he is in stable but serious condition, according to Maine Warden Service spokesman Mark Latti.
Around 9:45 p.m., the sheriff’s office received a report of someone screaming for help on Crawford Pond, where two men had gone through the ice about 100 feet from shore while traversing the pond on an ATV.
Sgt. Arthur Smith went onto the ice and saw the men, who “were obviously having a hard time staying afloat,” according to Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll.
Smith threw a rope to Holbrook who seemed to be having the most difficulty, but he was unable to get the rope around his torso. Dennison tried to assist, but ultimately had to clear himself for his own safety and was pulled from the water.
Holbrook was experiencing “severe distress” and was unable to hold onto the rope or the edge of the ice. The man was going under water when Smith made the decision to go into the water to try and save him.
At one point, the ice Smith was holding onto broke free, but he held Holbrook to prevent him from going under. Smith was able to find more solid ice to hold onto to keep himself and Holbrook afloat.
“Sgt. Smith was holding the ice by his arms and able to maintain keeping the victim’s head above water with his legs,” Carroll said.
As Smith worked to keep the man afloat, and EMTs arrived and joined Smith at the edge of the ice to help, but they were still unable to control Holbrook enough to get him out of the water.
An unidentified rescue swimmer arrived and jumped in to assist. The three of them were then able to pull Holbrook onto the ice.
By the time Dennison and Holbrook had been pulled from the water, it was 3 a.m. Both mens were taken to Pen Bay Medical Center for treatment.
Smith, who was cleared by hospital staff, likely saved Holbrook’s life, according to the warden service.