SABATTUS — Several local agencies came to the rescue of a disabled boat on Sabattus Pond late Wednesday and used new equipment to bring three children and three adults to safety.

Rescuers reach people in a disabled boat Wednesday night on Sabattus Pond. Sabattus Fire Department photo

About 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sabattus fire crews received a report of a small boat in distress on the pond. Complicating matters, they also learned that the vessel did not have any working lights — the flashlight the boaters were using had been accidentally dropped into the water.

A Wales firefighter arrived at the pond in the area of Libby Road and reported he could see the boat from his position. Sabattus and Greene fire crews launched boats in the area and began searching for the vessel.

According to Sabattus Fire Chief Troy Cailler, the operation went quickly and smoothly in large part due to a new piece of navigation equipment that had been installed just a week earlier. The Hummingbird Helix 10 plotter used longitude and latitude coordinates to chart a course to the disabled boat. The device also uses sonar to scan the bottom of the pond for potential obstacles, Cailler said.

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

When firefighters made contact with the boaters, they discovered that few of the occupants were able to speak English. The boat, it was determined, had broken down and the boaters had no way to return to the Martin Point boat launch.

The children were wearing life vests, Cailler said.

The boat was towed back to the launch by Sabattus Marine-1, Cailler said. The boaters were examined and, aside from being cold from wind and rain, were not hurt.

The Hummingbird Helix 10 navigational plotter, donated to the Sabattus Fire Department last week, is used Wednesday night to reach people stranded in a disabled boat on Sabattus Pond. Sabattus Fire Department photo

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