TURNER – Amanda Hinkley, an emergency room nurse, took her three children to Bear Pond Beach Thursday afternoon in a bid to beat the heat.

“Boatloads of kids” were playing in the water, having fun, Jonathon Irvine of Turner said.

It all changed in just a moment.

During an interview Friday, she said she saw a young man carrying a girl through the water, yelling for help.

Irvine, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he took the girl, who looked “bluish-purple,” from the young man and headed to the beach.

Hinkley rushed to assist as they reached the shore.


“I saw a purple child,” she said. She told them to put the girl flat on the ground, which Irvine was doing anyway, relying on his old military training.

He said he didn’t feel any pulse so he began doing chest compressions, trying to get her breathing.

“I just kept going, hoping for the best,” Irvine said.

The unnamed youngster, an 8-year-old from Turner, didn’t have a pulse, Hinkley said, “so I gave her some back blows to get the water out.”

As a couple of people nearby phoned 911, Hinkley led the effort on the beach to give the girl “rescue breaths” and compressions “until I felt a pulse.”

Irvine said it took a couple of minutes before they could sense a weak pulse again.


Rushed to Central Maine Medical Center by Turner Rescue, LifeFlight of Maine flew the girl to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she remains.

Family members said Friday the girl is improving and is expected to recover fully. They said they were too busy to speak more.

The girl’s father, Scott Cole, posted on a Facebook group to “thank everyone who responded and acted quickly. Without you, my daughter wouldn’t be with us anymore.”

Leanne Heidrich Weston, who was on the beach as events unfolded, said the men who pulled the girl out of the water and those who administered CPR to her deserve credit.

“Turner is a community of helpers, and now, heroes,” Weston said. “A little girl was saved from drowning by the quick thinking of strangers at the town beach.”

“Because of them, she is alive,” Weston said.


“I’m not trying to be a local hero or nothing,” Irvine said. “I just did what I was supposed to do.”

Several people said Carson Rice and Christopher Barnaby, who are friends, were the men who got the girl out of the water. Neither could be reached Friday, but Rice’s mother, Kristen Rice, posted on Facebook that the two spotted the girl in trouble and that Carson held her head above the water as they got her to shore.

Tina Ouellette, a North Turner resident who was on the scene, said there were several people she called heroes on the beach as everybody rushed to provide aid, including Hinkley, the young men who pulled the girl from the water, and Irvine, a Tennessee native who helped get her breathing again.

Hinkley said an unidentified woman, also a nurse, provided key assistance as well.

Hinkley, who works at CMMC, said the girl responded to rescue efforts on the beach, eventually beginning to cry and cough up water, though her eyes remained shut “and her lungs were still full of fluid.”

“It was pretty horrifying,” Hinkley said.


“She was literally on the brink of death,” Irvine said. It wasn’t until she began crying, he said, that he was sure she could breathe.

“I know we will never forget it or forget her,” Weston said. “I will never get her face out of my mind. That poor baby.”

Hinkley said that her training as a nurse obviously made a difference.

But, she said, it was a strange experience.

“I’m not used to having to practice outside the hospital,” Hinkley said, or to give orders to people who aren’t used to following them.

“Everyone did great,” Hinkley said.


“Right place, right time,” Irvine said.

Hinkley said that throughout, she was “just doing my job.”

Irvine said he just relied on his Marine training and did what he had to do.

When the ambulance crew took the girl away, Hinkley said, she gathered up her own children and went home.

Everybody was shaken up, she said, but they could take comfort in knowing the girl made it through.

“The thing is, with how crazy the world is, something as awful as this reminded us that there are still heroes out there when we need them,” Weston said. “It restored my faith in humanity.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: