PHIPPSBURG – If it hadn’t been for Alex Glynn, close friends Josh Burgess and Chris Colby wouldn’t have been at Popham Beach on Thursday.

And if it hadn’t been for Burgess and Colby, a woman would likely be dead.

Burgess and Colby spent that afternoon walking the beach. That’s what they try to do as often as possible each summer.

But something seemed unusual Thursday as they approached Fox Island, a ledge that visitors can reach by walking along a sandbar during low tide. They heard a woman screaming and saw dozens of people pointing toward the island.

“We dropped our stuff and ran,” said Burgess, 23, of West Gardiner.

A woman had been toppled by a wave and caught in aggressive surf, said Brian Murray, the Popham Beach State Park manager. “I think she fully expected just to be collecting shells,” Murray said.

Instead, Burgess and Colby said, the woman was repeatedly thrown against craggy rocks and surfaces with rough barnacles.

“You should have seen her face,” Colby, 18, of Gardiner, said Sunday at Popham Beach, recounting the tale. “It was white, the look of death.”

“A good way to describe it is running something over a cheese grater,” Burgess said of the woman’s experience. “We just ran down to the water’s edge.”

There, Colby yelled to the woman, who had severe cuts, instructing her to grab onto a rock for support, and then his hand. Her earlier attempts to grab onto rocks had torn the skin from her fingertips.

As Colby grabbed the woman’s hand, Burgess held onto Colby so he wouldn’t slip into the water. Once she made it out, Colby and Burgess tied their T-shirts onto the woman’s wounds while they waited for an ambulance.

“I think they did an outstanding thing,” said Murray, the park manager. “There were other people standing around, and they went and did the assist.”

Murray said the woman, whose identity hasn’t been made available, rode home with her family after the incident, refusing an ambulance ride to the hospital.

“I feel good about myself,” said Colby. “I just went and saved a life.”

But according to Burgess and Colby, they didn’t execute the good deed without help.

The friends had driven to Popham to visit a bench erected as a memorial to Glynn, Burgess’ late brother and a close friend to Colby.

“If his memorial wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have been here,” Burgess said. “So, I guess he had something to do with it.”

Popham Beach was a special place for Glynn, who committed suicide more than two years ago, when he was 15. Glynn eagerly awaited each summer when his family would rent a camp near the beach, said his grandmother Joan Vining of Gardiner.

“His heart and soul, everything that was him, was here at Popham,” said Vining.

Colby Fortune of Gardiner, Burgess and Glynn’s mother, said she was “very proud” when she heard about Burgess and Colby’s rescue. But a rush of fear also passed through her body when she heard the news.

“I could have lost another child doing what they did,” she said. “I think Alex was behind it.”

Burgess and Colby are convinced of that, too.

They began their afternoon at the beach Thursday at Glynn’s memorial bench.

“We started here, stopped, talked for a while,” Burgess said.

Afterward, they did the same thing.