Prock Marine employees rescue man in Camden Harbor

By Susan Mustapich | Jan 10, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Prock Marine employees Jacob Crawford, left, Joshua Bechard and Nate Bryant, not pictured, rescued a man calling for help and hanging onto a float right in front of the public landing Jan. 8.

CAMDEN — Three Prock Marine employees pulled a man from the frigid water of Camden harbor Jan 8, after hearing weak cries for help in a quiet moment when the crane on the dredging barge was shut down.

Employees Joshua Bechard, Jacob Crawford and Nate Bryant rescued the man.

After being pulled from the water, the man was assisted by the Camden Fire Department and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. The Prock employees would like to know if the man is all right.

"It's very fortunate that the guys from Prock heard him, and reacted and came across to rescue him," Fire Chief Chris Farley said Jan. 11. He noted that the water temperature is 39 degrees at buoy FO1 in West Penobscot Bay, according to NOAA.

"Hypothermia will set in pretty quickly at that temperature," he said. Fire Department members heard the dispatch call from Knox County Communications for an ambulance for a man who was taken out of the water, he said. He and firefighters Matt Heath and Tracy Harford went over to the Public Landing, and saw the man had been taken into a small office by the Prock employees, and was being assisted by schooner Olad owner Aaron Lincoln.

Bechard, Crawford, and Prock crane operator Ernest McDonald talked about the rescue Jan. 10. They said the man appeared to be in his 60s.

On Jan. 8 around 1 p.m., Crawford was shoveling off a float near the American Boathouse work site, when he heard someone saying, "Help me!"

He kept hearing the cry for help and realized someone was in the water on the other side of the harbor near the Public Landing.

Crawford said he yelled and got Josh Bechard's attention. Prock employee Caleb Conway called 911 for the ambulance.

Bechard said when Crawford came to get him, saying someone was calling for help, he could see across the harbor, under an inclined steel ramp at the Public Landing, that a man was hanging from a small float on the far side of the ramp.

The man's voice was carrying across the harbor, but Bechard thought that because of the stone pier at the Public Landing, possibly no one could hear him over there.

McDonald mentioned they could hear the man crying for help because the machinery in front of the boathouse had stopped due to the snow and rain, and the crane on the barge out in the harbor had just shut down.

Crawford, Bechard and Bryant jumped into a skiff tied up on the windjammer float, where Crawford was shoveling.

Bechard untied the boat and ran it over to the Public Landing. He ran up onto the pier and jumped down to the float. The man in the water had his arm hung over a fire hose attached to the side of the small float, but couldn't pull himself up out of the water, he said.

He pulled the man up and onto the float with one arm. Bechard said the man was blue, and he doesn't think he would have lasted much longer.

"He was some glad to see me when I bailed off the sea wall," he said. The man was weak and couldn't walk or talk. He had used up his energy yelling for help, Bechard said.

Crawford, Bechard and Bryant carried the man up the Public Landing, into a small shop used by the schooner Olad, which just happened to be open. There they started taking off his wet clothes and wrapped him up in a blanket.

Crawford described what it felt like to rescue the man.

"The adrenaline is going so hard that we were all just 100 miles an hour. We kind of knew what to do," Crawford said. "He was a 250-pound man, but we hauled him up over that dock like he was 30 pounds and got him into that shop."

The man pulled from Camden harbor Jan. 8 by Prock Marine employees was hanging by one arm from the small float up against the pier at the Public Landing in Camden. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Jan 10, 2019 23:25

Chilling read but whether good timing, being in the right place at the right time, or pure luck, you three men are heroes who live among us here in Coast Maine. Great job and I wish to say thank you. I hope this man has survived his ordeal.

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