Rescuers help boaters stranded on the Sabattus pond

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SABATTUS – Several local agencies came to the rescue of a broken down boat on Sabattus Pond on Wednesday evening and used new equipment to get three children and three adults to safety.

On Wednesday evening, rescuers reach people in a disabled boat on the Sabattus pond. Sabattus Fire Department Photo

At around 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sabattus fire crews received a report of a small boat in distress on the pond. To complicate matters, they also learned that the vessel did not have working headlights – the flashlight the boaters were using had accidentally been dropped into the water.

A Welsh firefighter arrived at the pond in the Libby Road area and reported that he could see the boat from his position. Sabattus and Greene fire crews launched boats into the area and began to search for the vessel.

According to Sabattus Fire Chief Troy Cailler, the operation went quickly and smoothly, largely thanks to new navigation equipment that had been installed a week earlier. The Hummingbird Helix 10 chartplotter used the longitude and latitude coordinates to plot a course to the broken down vessel. The device also uses sonar to scan the bottom of the pond for potential obstacles, Cailler said.

In about 10 minutes, rescuers were able to make their way to the disabled ship. The boat had drifted about half a mile from their last known coordinate, Cailler said.

When firefighters contacted the boaters, they discovered that few of the occupants spoke English. The boat, it was determined, was out of order and boaters had no way of returning to the Martin Point boat launch.

The children wore life jackets, Cailler said.

The boat was towed to launch by Sabattus Marine-1, Cailler said. The boaters were examined and, in addition to being cold from the wind and rain, they were not injured.

The Hummingbird Helix 10 navigation chartplotter, donated to the Sabattus Fire Department last week, is being used Wednesday evening to reach people stranded in a broken down boat on Sabattus Pond. Sabattus Fire Department Photo

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