Brunswick warden carried boy to safety
DRESDEN — A Maine Marine Patrol warden from Brunswick carried frozen, barefoot Micah Thomas across mud flats to his boat Thursday afternoon before rushing him down the Eastern River to a waiting ambulance.
Christopher Hilton of Brunswick had joined the search for 12-year-old Thomas, of Dresden, less than a half-hour before he spotted a man on the western bank of the Eastern River holding the boy, Hilton said Thursday.
“I was driving the boat up (the river) and I saw this guy standing there and he had this kid, and he was yelling to me, ‘This is the kid we’re looking for,’” Hilton said.
Hilton walked across mud flats in his hip boots and took the boy from the man, who Hilton only knows as “Tim.”
Because the boy’s feet were frozen and swollen — he had removed his wet socks and shoes earlier — Thomas couldn’t walk, “So I threw him on my back,” Hilton said, and carried him to the boat.
Once in the boat, Hilton wrapped Thomas in his wool Marine Patrol jacket and an insulated “float coat” to try to warm him up, then rushed him across the river, where an ambulance waited at the dock.
Hilton said Thomas talked to him as they raced across the river, but he didn’t question the boy about why he’d been missing for 24 hours.
“I was just worried about getting him back to the landing,” he said.
Marine Patrol Warden Scott Couture said Thomas apparently crossed the river in a canoe.
Using a helicopter, plane, boats and canine teams, the Maine Warden Service, Maine Forest Service, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police, Maine Marine Patrol and volunteers from a number of area fire and law enforcement departments scoured the Dresden and Pittston area overnight Wednesday and throughout the day Thursday, but hadn’t focused on the western bank of the river.
Just before 2:30 p.m., a Maine Game Warden confirmed that Thomas was found “essentially OK” and had been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of possible hypothermia.