Seven people were rescued at sea Sunday afternoon after their 25-foot-long powerboat started taking on water and sank off Biddeford Pool.

Kevin Duross, chief deputy of the Biddeford Fire Department, said all seven were taken to Southern Maine Health Care hospital in Biddeford as a precaution. The boaters were in the ocean – where the temperature was 63 degrees – for about 30 minutes and were checked for hypothermia.

No serious injuries were reported, but rescuers said it took teamwork to locate them in the water since their boat had sunk by the time rescuers arrived.

Everyone in the water was wearing a life jacket.

“We were pretty lucky,” Duross said Sunday evening. “It could have been a different story if this had happened at night or in different weather conditions.”

Duross, who serves as chief of the land-based command center, said the Biddeford Police Department received a distress call around 3:45 p.m. from the motorboat’s operator, who reported he had lost power and the boat was taking on water.


The Coast Guard sent a 29-foot rescue boat from its station in South Portland as well as a fixed-wing aircraft from its base in Cape Cod to the area where the distress call originated. Biddeford police got a sighting of the sinking craft from Timber Point in Biddeford while Marine Five, a Saco Fire Department rescue boat, launched a crew.

“The boat was completely underwater and everyone had jumped ship by the time we arrived,” Duross said. If it hadn’t been for the airplane pilot, who spotted the victims in the ocean, the rescue effort could have been delayed, the deputy chief said.

“He was able to get a visual of the subjects in the water,” Duross said.

Their boat sank about 2½ miles from shore.

The boaters were taken to Cape Porpoise by the Coast Guard and Saco rescue boats before being transported to the hospital.

Frederick Drake, a petty officer based at the South Portland Coast Guard station, said the ocean temperature was 63 degrees at the time of the rescue.

Drake said the owner of the powerboat, whose name was unavailable, will be responsible for the cost of salvaging the boat. The cause of the sinking remains under investigation.


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