WATERVILLE — Firefighters on Saturday rescued a boy who had fallen into a deep, narrow hole on a recreational trail off Water Street and become trapped there.

Dias Greene, 15, of Waterville, had been exploring with a friend on the South End Island Trail near the Kennebec River just south of Hathaway Creative Center when his entire body slipped into a hole created by the uprooting of a large tree.

Dias, who is home-schooled, had a cellphone and called 911 around 11 a.m., drawing a large response from Waterville firefighters, who happened to be at the fire station for training. Police and Delta Ambulance workers also responded.

At the scene, just the tip of Greene’s red cap was visible from where he had fallen into the hole, his body basically in a standing position. Waterville fire-rescue technician Glen Bordas lay on the ground next to the deep, narrow hole, talking calmly with Greene to explain that they would get him out by placing webbing straps around him and pulling him gently. He encouraged Greene to let him know if anything became uncomfortable as they pulled, and they would stop.

“I’m going to talk you through everything, OK?” Bordas said. “We’re going to pull you slightly, OK?”

Within minutes, firefighters pulled Greene out of the hole, and he stood on one foot, clearly a bit stunned and favoring an ankle, which he said hurt.


“I like, slipped. I wasn’t thinking,” he said.

Emergency workers placed him on a backboard and carried it north along the snowy, icy trail to the parking lot of the Hathaway site, about 500 yards away, and put him into a waiting Delta Ambulance, which took him to the hospital.

As the rescue was in progress earlier, Greene’s friend Madison Nichols-Lee, 14, also of Waterville, watched nervously, with his father, Al Hardy, by his side.

Hardy said the boys, who are best friends and live on nearby Gold Street, often go to the trail because they like the outdoors, and he always tells them to be careful.

Nichols-Lee’s mother, Brandy Nichols, walked with him and Hardy on the slippery trail toward the Hathaway Creative Center. She said when she saw firetrucks leave the station earlier and head toward Hathaway, she instinctively knew something had happened to the boys, so she rushed there.

Nichols-Lee said when Greene fell into the hole, he urged him not to move because it might make him fall deeper.


“At first his whole upper body was above the ground, and he moved a few times, and his arms and head and chest went deeper,” he said. “As soon as he sunk down more, I’m like, ‘Do not move.’ I saw him slip, and I grabbed his hand and told him to put his hands on the roots.”

Nichols said she was proud of her son for staying with and helping his friend, and that it was not the first time he had helped in an emergency situation. Three or four years ago, she said, she went into shock after inhaling cayenne pepper, to which she is allergic, that had been placed around their home to get rid of ants, and she turned blue. Nichols-Lee called 911, which saved her life, she said. Afterward, he got an award from the hospital for his deed.

“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “The words can’t describe.”

Meanwhile, at the Hathaway parking lot, Greene’s mother, Annastasia Greene, was waiting outside the ambulance as her son was being evaluated inside. She said he would be taken to the Thayer Center for Health on North Street and that she had been told he would be OK.

“They said he was complaining of rib pain and arm pain and ankle pain, but it’s just the way he landed, apparently,” she said.

She said he and Nichols-Lee are not ones to sit around at a computer all day and that they love to go outside and explore.


“They want to be in the fresh air, hunting and fishing,” she said.

Fire Chief Shawn Esler said the rescue went well and firefighters remained calm at the scene, which they are trained to do in such situations.

“We had a great turnout today,” he said. “We are in our annual Super Saturday training, so I have every member of the department at the station right now.”

While he could not comment on the nature of Greene’s injuries, if any, he said as the boy was inside the hole and root system of the tree, one of emergency workers’ concerns was the temperature, given that it was in the high 20s Saturday morning. Fortunately, they were able to get Greene out quickly and safely.

“We used a piece of webbing, which is basically our first line piece of equipment to secure somebody in place,” Esler said.

Esler, who had been at the scene during the rescue, said Bordas did a good job in his capacity as rescue technician.


Annastasia Greene said around 2:30 p.m. that Dias had just been released from the hospital and has bruised ribs and an air cast on his right foot, which was sprained during the fall. Otherwise, she said, he is in good shape.

She said emergency workers did a terrific job Saturday.

“They did excellent,” she said. “They were calm with him; they were calm with me. I give them full kudos, because I was frantic when I first showed up.”

She said she has two rules for her son, and they might have helped save his life Saturday.

“He’s not allowed to go anywhere without a cellphone and if he goes into the woods, he has to go with somebody else in case anything happens.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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