Sgt. Scott Thrasher of the Maine Warden Service, left, speaks with James Cahill of Strong, who rescued a man Tuesday afternoon after his canoe capsized in Porter Lake. Cahill brought the man to a dock at the Strong Town Beach at the end of Beanies Beach Road. Sun Journal photo by Donna M. Perry

STRONG — A 63-year-old New Vineyard man whose canoe capsized Tuesday afternoon on Porter Lake was rescued by a local man who had been alerted to the accident.

Robert Rutgliano had been trying to reach his wife, who was in a power boat on the lake when the motor quit, Maine Warden Sgt. Scott Thrasher said.

James “Zip” Cahill of Strong, at the helm of his pontoon boat Tuesday, hauls a canoe that capsized on Porter Lake to a dock in Strong. Earlier in the afternoon Cahill rescued Robert Rutgliano of New Vineyard from the water after the canoe flipped. Sun Journal photo Donna M. Perry

“To my understanding the husband attempted to paddle a canoe out to the boat and the canoe capsized,” Thrasher said.

The lake straddles the Strong-New Vineyard town line.

James “Zip” Cahill of Strong, who has a camp on the lake, said he received a call from Jon Cavanaugh of New Vineyard that a man was in the lake yelling and screaming for help.

Cahill said he went out in his pontoon boat and once he saw Rutgliano in the water he called 911. He pulled Rutgliano, who was holding on to his 16-foot Old Town canoe and a life jacket, out of the lake and brought him to the town dock at the end of Beanies Beach Road in Strong.


Cahill and Strong firefighters went back out and picked up Rutgliano’s wife and the canoe.

A NorthStar EMS ambulance responded and personnel treated Rutgliano for hypothermia before taking him to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, according to information Thrasher provided to Mark Latti, spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Cahill also checked on Rutgliano’s wife, who was dropped off at another dock.

The incident was reported to Franklin County dispatchers at 1:02 p.m.

Latti said Rutgliano was in the water for about 45 to 60 minutes and his wife couldn’t reach him.

Thrasher said the water temperature was about 50 degrees.

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