WATERVILLE — A  teen who fell through ice on the Kennebec River while walking along the bank with friends is safe, officials said.

A Waterville firefighter said the boy was “found and safe” after a caller in Winslow spotted him in the water across from Rita’s House of Pizza on Friday and called authorities. The boy was identified as Aaron Hall, 14, of Waterville, by his friend Madison Nicholas-Lee, who was with him when he fell into the water around 1 p.m.

Nicholas-Lee, 15, also of Waterville, said he was walking ahead of Hall when he fell in. He was unsure of exactly what happened and what led Hall to break through the ice.

“We were walking around and all of the sudden I heard him screaming,” Nicholas-Lee said. “I turned around and he was in the water.”

Nicholas-Lee was with first responders at the scene Friday, by the staircase down to the river off Water Street and near Carey Lane. He said that the place that Hall fell in was not far from those stairs, and that Hall got himself out of the water before firefighters, police and rescue teams arrived.

“I’m glad they called,” Nicholas-Lee said of the person who reported the incident from across the river in Winslow.

Capt. Rodney Alderman of the Waterville Fire Department said the rescue team had been responding to a medical call near the Hathaway building down the road when the call about Hall came over the radio. Most of the rescue effort focused on locating the teenagers, which took about 10 minutes, according to Alderman.

“When we arrived, we were trying to find out exactly where they were at,” Alderman said. “We were also relying on reports from the Winslow Police Department to give us a better location because they could see from their vantage point over in Winslow where (the teens) were at, but we were trying to get personnel to the location.” 

Some members of the rescue team trekked into the riverside trails from the Hathaway Creative Center parking lot, where they had just cleared the medical call. Others walked and drove down Water Street to the area of Carey Lane.

“Finally we made contact going down those stairs by Water Street,” said Alderman. “That’s all we did — make contact.” 

The distance between the Hathaway Creative Center and the staircase where the kids were found is just over a half mile.

Waterville police and firefighters were joined by Delta Ambulance and Winslow Fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez at the scene. Members of the Winslow Police Department advised on the rescue from across the river.

Alderman warned that ice on the Kennebec River is not safe to walk on at this point in the winter.

“My words of wisdom are to stay off the ice,” he said. “The ice is definitely not thick enough, and especially on the river where you have moving water, ice does not tend to form as thick or as quickly as it does on a pond or a lake.” 

The temperature in Waterville was 33 degrees Faherenheit on Friday afternoon but felt like 26 degrees Faherenheit, according to a National Weather Service reading from 12:56 p.m.

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