Two canoeists were rescued Saturday from Sheepscot River when firefighters used a ladder truck to extend over the river to pluck the pair from a rock. Photo courtesy of Pittston Fire Department

WHITEFIELD — Two canoeists were rescued Saturday from the swollen, fast-moving Sheepscot River when firefighters used a ladder truck to extend over the river to pluck the pair from a rock.

Neither of the two men, whose identities were not available Sunday, was injured. In fact, Whitefield Fire Chief Scott Higgins said the men barely got wet.

Higgins said the men’s canoe came up against a rock as they were paddling. When they saw they were likely to become stuck against the rock, they pulled themselves up onto it just before their canoe collapsed and folded around the rock.

“We were dispatched to it and made the determination the river was really fast. With rocks and everything, it would have been dangerous, so we weren’t going to be able to pull them through the water to the shore,” Higgins said.

“We looked at the scene and thought we could get a ladder truck down in there.”

So Whitefield firefighters called for Gardiner’s ladder truck and crew.

When they arrived, Gardiner firefighters extended the truck’s ladder from the roadside, down an embankment and across the water to reach the pair, who were stranded on the rock in the middle of the river.

One firefighter went out to the end of the ladder and guided the two off the rock, onto the ladder and to dry land.

Two canoeists were rescued Saturday from Sheepscot River when firefighters used a ladder truck to extend over the river to pluck the pair from a rock. Photo courtesy of Pittston Fire Department

The rescue occurred at about 6 p.m. Saturday, near Kings Mills Lane, off Route 218, in the Kings Mills area.

Higgins said the pair were wearing flotation vests and were calm and appreciative when firefighters rescued them.

Along with Whitefield and Gardiner firefighters, firefighters from Pittston responded, providing lighting from the opposite side of the river. Jefferson firefighters also arrived with the department’s drysuits, in case they were needed for an in-water rescue.

Higgins said he does not recommend canoeing when the water is as rough and fast as it was Saturday. He also said canoeists should know the river and where they are going.

Higgins applauded mutual aid agreements, which provide responses from out-of-town fire and rescue departments.

“Mutual aid is amazing,” he said. “We all can’t have ladder trucks. When we put out a call for help, (Gardiner firefighters) were right there with it.”

 

 

 

 


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