July 20, 2013

Portland swimmer swept away by current later dies

The man reportedly urged other swimmers near the Casco Bay Bridge to rescue his girlfriend first.

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A swimmer who was pulled from the Fore River by the city's fireboat crew Friday afternoon died later at Maine Medical Center, the city's spokeswoman said.

Nicole Clegg said the man's name was not being released Friday night pending notification of his family.

Clegg and Coast Guard spokesman Chris Berry both said they received reports of several people swimming in the river and one man struggling near the Casco Bay Bridge shortly after 5 p.m. Friday.

Clegg said the city's fireboat crew located the man who had been struggling, performed CPR on him and took him to the Maine State Pier, where he was put into an ambulance and transported to Maine Med.

Clegg said he was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after arriving.

Jake Murray, a Portland resident who was swimming with two friends at Knightville Park, a popular swimming spot under the bridge in South Portland, said he helped get the struggling man's girlfriend, who was swimming against a strong current, ashore.

Then, he said, his two friends tried to rescue the man, but the man was carried away by the current before they could reach him.

Murray said one of his friends then swam back to shore, ran to his car, retrieved a cellphone and called 911.

Murray identified his two friends as Taylor and Emily and said they both live in Portland, but he declined to provide their last names. He said both got out of the water safely on their own.

Murray said he rescued the girlfriend first on instructions from her boyfriend.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

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