Eleven people, most of them clinging to forest debris when emergency responders arrived, were rescued Monday after their canoes were swamped by surging currents in the Saco River in Fryeburg.

The Saco River looking across toward Hollis from Pleasant Point Park in Buxton in April. Teams rescued 11 people after their canoes capsized in one of the more remote sections of the river in Fryeburg on Monday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

None of the canoeists were seriously injured after multiple rescue crews with swiftwater training from Fryeburg, Bridgton, Denmark, Conway and North Conway, New Hampshire, brought them to safety around 4:30 p.m., the Fryeburg Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

Their canoes capsized in one of the more remote sections of the Saco River, where river levels remained dangerously high throughout the day following Sunday’s torrential rainfall, which also caused large debris to fall into the river.

When rescue teams arrived they found multiple people in the water clinging to debris. They were pulled from the river and brought safely to shore, and no injuries were reported.

“This incident could have had a very different outcome,” the release said. “We remind everyone that the river remains high. Please check conditions prior to departing on your trip. Life jackets save lives.”

Fryeburg and other parts of Oxford County were among the areas hit hardest by Sunday’s rainstorm and torrential downpours. Several roads were closed after becoming flooded. The National Weather Service said Fryeburg received 2.81 inches of rain.

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