FRYEBURG – A Cape Neddick man had to be rescued from the Saco River Sunday afternoon when the canoe he was paddling, capsized during a hailstorm.

Fryeburg’s Acting Police Chief Joshua Potvin said the 50-year-old man, whose name is not being released, was paddling on the Saco River around 3 p.m. when a hailstorm suddenly came up and tipped his canoe over.

Fryeburg police, fire, and rescue workers launched a rescue boat from Lovewell Pond Landing. The boat had to travel upriver against strong currents to where the man had swum ashore. He was treated for hypothermia, but refused an offer to transport him to a local hospital.

The man told police that he had been canoeing with a group of 13 other men, who had been consuming alcohol. The man also told police that he “almost drowned”, had become extremely fatigued and cold, and that he had swallowed a lot of water during his swim to shore.

“This is our first water rescue call of the season and this canoeist is extremely fortunate that he was not seriously injured,” Potvin said in a statement. “We are expecting a busy season on the Saco and we are reminding those enjoying the river that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can make for extremely unsafe conditions and poor decision making.”