MADISON — A man who police believe was homeless and high on the synthetic hallucinogenic drug “bath salts” was pulled from the Kennebec River Saturday afternoon and later taken by LifeFlight helicopter to a Bangor hospital.

Cpl. Joseph Mitchell of the Madison Police Department said the man, whom he would not identify, was with a female companion just north of the boat landing off Nathan Street when the man decided to take a swim in the river.

“I don’t know if the bath salts kicked in or the cold water or a combination of both, but he started to go in an out of consciousness,” Mitchell said. “His female companion got him pulled in to shore but couldn’t get him up out of the water. He was floating on his back.”

Mitchell said the woman went back to the boat landing where their car was parked and drove across the bridge into Anson and enlisted the help of friends who live there.

She then called for emergency help.

Mitchell was among the first to arrive and said the man, thought to be in his late 20s, was semi-conscious. Emergency crews from Madison, Anson and Norridgewock, along with police and a game warden responded to the call around 1 p.m.

Mitchell said the game warden was called because authorities feared the man had drowned. The Maine Warden Service is responsible for responding to emergencies on the state’s inland waterways.

Mitchell said the man was taken from the riverbank by stretcher to a pickup truck and then by ambulance to Redington-Fairview General Hospital.

“Apparently just over the Skowhegan town line he became uncontrollable in the back of the ambulance and Skowhegan PD had to get into the ambulance to help control him for the rest of the ride to Redington,” Mitchell said.

The man was taken by helicopter from the Skowhegan hospital to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Mitchell said he didn’t think charges would be brought against him.

“The thing that concerns me is the problem that bath salts is creating,” Mitchell said. “Between Madison Police Department, Madison/Anson Rescue, A&M Ambulance, the Maine Warden Service, Skowhegan PD, Redington-Fairview hospital, LifeFlight of Maine, Eastern Maine Medical Center, this idiot stick chewed up a hundred-thousand-dollar bill.

“Somebody’s got to pay for it and it probably won’t be him. Somebody’s paying for it other than the person who’s too stupid not to use drugs.”

 

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