A junior at Deering High School died Monday afternoon on Peaks Island from injuries he sustained when he was mowing a lawn and got trapped between the mower and a parked boat.

Deering students and staff were notified Tuesday of the death of Blain Alves, 16, by the school’s co-principals, Abdullahi Ahmed and Alyson Dame. Social workers and the school’s crisis management team were made available for grief counseling, said Deering Athletic Director Michael Daly.

Alves, whose father is a Portland firefighter, played football, basketball and baseball at the Portland high school. The family lives on Peaks Island.

Portland police did not identify Alves by name in a statement Tuesday night, but provided details of an accident on Peaks Island on Monday involving a 16-year-old boy who was fatally injured mowing a lawn.

Portland firefighters and police responded around 4 p.m. Monday to the report of a person who was injured while mowing a lawn, Lt. Robert Martin said in the release.

Martin said the 16-year-old boy was operating a mower when he got trapped between it and a parked boat. First responders found the boy suffering from what Martin described as “serious injuries.” Peaks Island paramedics and paramedics from the mainland along with a LifeFlight helicopter responded, but despite their efforts to resuscitate him, he died at the scene. The cause and manner of his death will be determined by the state Medical Examiner’s Office, Martin said.

“This is a tragic incident and the Portland Police Department wants to express their deepest condolences to the friends and family of the victim,” Martin said.

It wasn’t clear Tuesday night if Alves was operating the mower on his family’s property.

Portland Fire Chief Keith Gautreau said Tuesday evening that his department was in shock and mourning the teenager’s death.

Alves’ coaches paid tribute to him in interviews with the Portland Press Herald, and his friends and family lamented his death on social media Tuesday night.

This past school year at Deering, Alves played on the varsity football team as a fullback and linebacker, and was on the junior varsity basketball team. He would have been a returning player on the varsity baseball team, if spring sports had not been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just consider him a rising star in the school as a student, an athlete, and a leader,” said Daly, the athletic director. “He was a special kid. Really well known, well liked and well respected by all our students and also one of those kids who supported everyone.”

“He always had a great smile and great attitude and was a hard worker and he just had that quiet steady spirit,” Daly said. “We were actually grooming him for a leadership role.

“I just feel for the kids and the community, too, because they can’t gather like they normally would, but we’re supporting them with virtual gatherings.”

Alves’ sister Madison is a senior at Deering and was a co-captain of the girls’ basketball team. Their parents are Christopher and Michele Alves.

Deering High School football coach John Hardy, also the son of a Portland firefighter, said he recognized a kindred work ethic in Alves.

“By a worker, I mean whatever he was doing, he gave 100 percent,” Hardy said.

Hardy said that in addition to playing linebacker and running back, Alves also played tight end and served as an emergency quarterback.

“If you asked him to play a position, he would just say, ‘Yes.’ He would just do it,” Hardy said.

Hardy praised Alves’ leadership skills.

“Absolutely, he was a leader. And it goes back to him being one of those kids, who led by example,” Hardy said. “He would motivate on the field, he would coach the younger kids and he would really take coaching well and that’s a huge thing. He just went out there and tried his hardest and that’s what we look for as leaders.”

Portland High football coach Jason McLeod said that as an opposing coach, he knew Alves as an athletic player, a strong tackler at linebacker and someone who appeared to be well liked by teammates and fun to be around.

“And learning more about him today, he had a pretty significant community involvement on the island, doing stuff for his neighbors and helping out,” McLeod said.

The Deering High School Athletic Community posted a Facebook message Tuesday evening that read, “Our hearts are so heavy with the loss of Blain Alves. His family and friends are in our thoughts and we are sending them love. We can’t be together in school, but we can still support each other.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.