October 4, 2016

Lifejacket credited for saving Winthrop mans life

[Winthrop, Maine ? October 4, 2016] Game wardens say a lifejacket likely saved the life of a Winthrop man last evening. Maine game wardens, as well as Winthrop Police, Fire and Rescue responded to a 911 call at 6:11 last evening. The caller, Ida Turgeon of Upper Narrows Pond Road in Winthrop, reported hearing a boat crash and someone yelling for help. Turgeon heard the victim?s whistle and calls for help near the northeast portion of Upper Narrows Pond.

Upon arrival with fire and rescue, game wardens met with victim James Leavitt, 70, of Winthrop. Leavitt was being escorted to shore by witness Ronald LeClair of Winthrop, who also heard whistling and yelling for help. LeClair, who lives on the pond, used his canoe to reach Leavitt. Leavitt was found in the water holding onto his capsized canoe approximately 100 yards from the nearest shore.

Leavitt, who was wearing a lifejacket at the time, informed game wardens that he was out for a boat ride in his 14-foot Old Town canoe with an electric motor. Leavitt stated hearing the sound of rushing water coming from behind him and realized the stern of his canoe was going underwater. Leavitt said the canoe capsized and threw him into the water with the motor still running. The canoe continued to drag Leavitt through the water.

Leavitt, who was not injured, told Warden Service he always wears his lifejacket when on the water due to a previous shoulder injury that prevents him from swimming. Game Warden Steve Allarie commended Leavitt for having his required safety equipment and wearing his lifejacket, which likely saved his life. Leavitt was treated by Winthrop Rescue for hyperthermia from being exposed nearly 30 minutes to the cold water conditions.