SKOWHEGAN — A Massachusetts man who was saved from drowning in Lake George on Thursday said his only thought as he went under was to save his daughter.

Paul Borneman III, 33, was released from Redington-Fairview General Hospital on Friday, a day after he and his eight-year-old daughter were saved by Renee Dostie, 30, a mother of three from Clinton.

Borneman said he, with the child on his back, swam out about 50 feet to what he thought was a rock sticking out of the water.

It wasn’t a rock, he said by phone Friday, it was a piece of wood, which immediately gave way when he tried to climb on.

“I started to panic a little bit then because I was starting to get very drained of energy,” he said. “I switched my daughter around to the front of me. I tried to make it toward shore. I made it about 10 feet. Didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to breath again. My body was pretty much completely giving out.”

Borneman said he was running a fever earlier in the week, so his stamina was low and when he went under, his energy drained.

“I just wanted to make sure that my daughter was fine, that’s all I was concerned with at the time,” he said. “The next thing I knew I was coming to on the shore.”

Doctors told him he had suffered a heart arrhythmia, an irregular heart beat brought on by the fever, exertion, lack of oxygen and the stress of nearly downing. Borneman said his wife told him Dostie pulled him and their daughter to within 20 feet of shore, where other swimmers, including Leah May, a hair stylist at Kimee’s Hair Fashions in Skowhegan, came to assist.

May said she helped grab Borneman, whose eyes were wide open, his lips blue and his body stiff as a board.

May said her friend Tori Barron dialed 911. Borneman regained consciousness as firefighters arrived and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Borneman said he probably owes his life to Dostie.

“I’m just eternally grateful that there was such a Good Samaritan willing to risk her own life to come and help some strangers,” he said. “I wouldn’t know what to say to her other than thank you. Thank you.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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