SMITHFIELD — Rescue personnel plucked a duck hunter from North Pond on Wednesday afternoon after his boat hit a rock and capsized near Pomleau Island.

Game Warden Steve Couture said the Bowdoinham man, James Aldrich, 63, was wearing a life jacket.

Warden Sgt. Terry Hughes said Delta Ambulance personnel whisked the victim to Inland Hospital in Waterville before he was able to interview him at the scene.

Norman Worth, a homeowner on the lake, saw the accident at around 4 p.m. and yelled to his wife to call  911.

Hughes said Aldrich was motoring toward the island in a 14-foot aluminum boat. The bow of the boat was higher than the stern, said Hughes, and there were whitecaps on the pond.

Because of conditions and because the bow was so high in the air, Hughes said it was likely the duck hunter did not see the rock.

The boat, said Hughes, hit the rock, which was about 12 to 16 inches above the surface of the water, drove up on it and capsized about 75 feet from the island.

Hughes said Aldrich clung to the boat and a duck decoy bag for almost 30 minutes.

A couple of Smithfield firefighters rowed Worth’s boat to Aldrich, who was in about six feet of water. Personnel with the Belgrade rescue boat arrived soon after, wrapped Aldrich in blankets and took him to shore. Oakland personnel stood by with a rescue boat and Rome fire personnel also responded.

Hughes said Aldrich was extremely lucky and he cautioned duck hunters to be careful on the water.

“There were high winds and whitecaps,” he said. “This is not a day to be on the water. It probably wasn’t the wisest choice to go out. He put himself in a really bad situation. This could have been fatal.”

Hughes estimated a person could lose consciousness from hypothermia in 35 to 45 minutes in the 50- to 60-degree water.

Beth Staples — 861-9252
[email protected]