AUBURN – As his feet bounced in a powerless open boat on the edge of Lake Auburn, Gerald Lovely of Lewiston spent two hours Saturday clinging to a low hanging tree branch.

Either his arms would weaken and he’d let go, inevitably crashing his boat against the rocks, or he’d tire of waiting for help, pull himself onto the limb and the boat would still drift away and crash.

Instead, firefighters rescued him and the boat after Lovely spent hours trying to attract attention from passersby.

Firefighters extended a 102-foot ladder – never before used on the job – out over the edge of the lake, plucking Lovely from his perch on the limb while a team of firefighters in a boat pulled Lovely’s boat from the rocks.

“I think he was a little surprised to see what we brought,” said Lt. Mark Boulet of the Auburn Fire Department. “I don’t think he expected all this stuff.”

Lovely was in a friend’s fiberglass boat when its outboard motor quit. With a steady wind and a lake surface spotted with whitecaps, it took little time for him to drift toward the rocky shore, not far from the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Maple Hill Road.

Around 4:30 p.m., a passing motorist noticed Lovely and asked if he could help. Lovely asked the person to contact his mother, who was waiting for him at the boat launch. Once she learned of the situation, she called for help. Firefighters responded with units from the central station on Minot Avenue and the substation on Center Street, including the fancy new ladder truck.

Lovely was not hurt and the boat was not damaged, firefighters said

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