Maine Teen Safe After ‘High Risk' Ice Rescue

A teenager in Rumford, Maine, is safe after a tense ice rescue by the town's fire department Tuesday.

Shortly before 6 p.m. that afternoon, two teen boys were fishing when one of them got swept into the Androscoggin River just below a paper mill.

Firefighters had to climb down a steep embankment to get to the river bank and a section of water they say has hazards like a dam, rapids and a water discharge from the mill on either side of it.

Rumford Fire Chief Chris Reed says he had teams upstream and downstream of the operation to make sure the pair of firefighters who went into the water were safe and able to be saved should they have been swept away themselves.

Luckily, the redundancies were not needed.

Firefighter Chris Arsenault was able to reach the teen on the ice and hand him a life jacket.

"When I reached him, I threw him a life jacket, and he asked what to do with it," Arsenault said. "I said, 'well put it on.'"

Arsenault was tethered to shore on a rope line by fellow firefighter Ray Crockett.

Crockett said he was concerned a piece of ice would get caught in the line and put Arsenault at risk of getting hurt.

"If a piece of ice had floated down by and caught a safety line and took him further down, that would have been one more person that we had to rescue," said Crockett. "If it had caught enough that it pulled safety line out of my hands, it would have been a very different story."

But the operation went completely as planned with firefighters pulling the ice chunk and teen to shore without him getting wet at all.

Once onshore, the teens were evaluated by paramedics then released to their parents.

While necn attempted to reach the teens through the Rumford Police Department, which also responded for the rescue, their names could not be released because they are juveniles.

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