AUBURN — The Maine Warden Service has summoned to court the owner of a boat that was pulled from the edge of an Androscoggin River dam Thursday night.
Paul Duclos' boat, a Bayrunner, had four passengers aboard, including his wife, Arlene, who cannot swim. Yet, the boat had no life preservers and its registration had expired, Androscoggin County Sheriff's Capt. Raymond Lafrance said Friday.
By law, the operator of a boat must carry a life jacket for each person on board, and boats must be registered with the state.
At about 8 p.m. Thursday, the boat's engine stalled in the area above the Great Falls between Lewiston and Auburn. It drifted downstream until it came to rest on the dam's edge near the train trestle.
It teetered there for about an hour while Lewiston and Auburn fire departments, LifeFlight helicopter and the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department worked to get the people and their dogs to safety.
Auburn firefighters managed to throw the boaters a line and slide preservers to them. Later, an Auburn rescue boat towed them to shore while a county rescue boat guarded the rescuers from the river's fast current.
"It was a precarious situation," Lafrance said. "That boat was in real distress. The people in it were in real distress."
Despite all the help in taking the people to safety, they likely will not be charged for the rescuers' costs.
"The city of Auburn won't engage in that practice," fire Chief Frank Roma said Friday. "While this was a very dangerous situation, this was what we train for."
It's unlikely that the county will seek payment, either, Lafrance said.
"We haven't looked at that," he said. "I can't remember us charging anyone for a rescue."
Lafrance, a veteran boater, said he hoped the incident would serve as a warning to people
You've got to make sure you have all of your emergency equipment," Lafrance said. "You have to make sure you have life jackets and a rope and an anchor, so if something does happen, you can throw your anchor in and you can secure it before you do get in a dangerous situation."
Arlene Duclos said Thursday they had not used the boat in more than a decade. The Ducloses and the couple riding with them are from Lewiston.