CAPE ELIZABETH — The Cape Elizabeth Police Department sent out a warning to residents after a teenager fell through the ice at Great Pond. 

Cape Elizabeth police posted a reminder to the public regarding thinning ice in southern Maine ponds and rivers. The police recently made an rescue at Great Pond. Dan King photo

Nathaniel Drake, 14, was out on Great Pond with a group of friends to play ice hockey after school. He went onto the ice to make sure the ice was solid enough to play on. He was about 100 feet from shore when the ice became too thin and he fell through.  Drake went to the lake the day before to check the ice thickness and checked again when they arrived that afternoon. 

His friends saw what had happened from the shore and took matters into their own hands and called for help. While waiting for help to arrive, they found a rope with a buoy tied to the end and started throwing it at Drake but high winds hampered their efforts. 

Nathaniel’s mother, Tiffany Drake, was close by walking their dog and did not know anything had happened until she saw police cars drive toward her, park their cars, and run to the pond. 

Drake had already been in the water for 15 minutes before officers Aaron Webster and Rory Benjamin arrived at the scene as well as the Cape Elizabeth Fire Department. Both Webster and Benjamin were able to walk on the ice and make it within 50 feet of Drake before the ice became too thin for them to continue. 

Webster got into the water and swam as close to him as he could. According to a previous statement made by Webster, he pushed a rescue basket with a rope attached to Drake. He was able to hold onto it while the firefighters pulled him out of the water. Nathaniel’s body temperature had dropped to 92 degrees. 


“I propped it up on the ice and kind of rocked it back and forth and lined it up and let him know, ‘When I count to three, I’m going to push this basket to you and I need you to grab onto it,'” Webster said. 

Webster and Nathaniel were both taken to Maine Medical Center, treated, and released. Tiffany Drake said in a previous statement this is a moment she will never forget. She also praised both the police department and the fire department for saving her child’s life. 

“I then asked permission to hug him and it’s a hug I’ll never forget,” Tiffany Drake said. 

The department reminded residents that the ice on southern Maine ponds and lakes are not safe right now due to the recent mild temperatures. They urge people to gauge ice safety by being aware of recent temperatures, observing ice color, and measuring the thickness of the ice. 

Comments are not available on this story.