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December 12, 2012

Maine woman rescued from icy pond after trying to save dog

The small, long-haired dog drowned, and it appeared the woman was suffering from hypothermia.

By DOUG HARLOW Morning Sentinel

MERCER — A woman was pulled from the partially frozen water of North Pond shortly before noon Tuesday after she attempted to rescue a dog that had wandered onto the ice and fallen in.

click image to enlarge

Firefighters in survival suits bring Tracy Scott, 47, of Mercer, to shore in a rescue sled, after she went out on thin ice on North Pond in Mercer and plunged in the water while attempting to rescue a dog on Tuesday.

click image to enlarge

Firefighters from several area departments lift Tracy Scott, 47, of Mercer, who had fallen into the water of North Pond in Mercer on Tuesday, onto a stretcher. Scott had gone onto the thin ice to rescue a dog and broke through the ice.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Additional Photos Below

Tracy Scott, 47, was taken by ambulance to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan, where she was listed in good condition at 5 p.m., according to hospital spokeswoman Carol Steward.

"She's in the emergency room at this time," Steward said. "She was not LifeFlighted. They were able to treat her here and she's doing very well."

The small long-haired dog drowned. Its body was taken to shore in a rescue boat and later to the animal control officer in Oakland.

"We got a call of a dog in the water and when we got here, the dog's owner was about halfway out to try to rescue it," Norridgewock Assistant Fire Chief Danny Lanctot said. "She went in the water. She almost lost her life."

Lanctot said Scott was in the water for 20 or 30 minutes before she was rescued, and appeared to suffer from hypothermia.

He said Scott walked onto the thin ice, pushing a canoe toward the open water where the dog was. She fell through the ice and the canoe tipped over.

He said the water was shallow, but deep enough for Scott to briefly slip beneath the surface.

"She was under water for a short time and was able to get herself on top of the canoe," Lanctot said. "It was close -- it was great response from Smithfield and from Oakland."

About a dozen firefighters used wet suits, cold weather gear, ropes and other rescue equipment to pull Scott from the water and later haul the canoe to shore. She was a couple hundred feet offshore from Wayne's Loop, a small road off Pond Road on the western shore of North Pond.

Joan Cowing, who lives on the property from which the rescue operation was launched, said the ice on North Pond is about normal for mid-December. There is some ice in the coves and along the shore, but open water everywhere else.

She said Scott has lived in the lakefront house for only a few days and that she did not know her name.

"The woman just started renting that little place and I haven't met her," Cowing said. "When I saw her she was in the water. I hollered at my son to bring warm blankets in case they needed it. Rescue was great -- no hesitation, no nothing."

Lanctot said all the training that firefighters and rescue workers paid off Tuesday morning.

"Training is everything," he said. "Everyone's got to have training and work together."

There were no law enforcement officials on the scene. Somerset County Communications Director Mike Smith said the original call was for a dog in the water and it wasn't until firefighters arrived that they learned there was also a person.

Smith said Scott called 911 herself to report her dog was in the water.

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367


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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Area firefighters in survival suits drag a canoe to shore on North Pond in Mercer on Tuesday. Tracy Scott, 47, of Mercer, went out on the thin ice with the canoe to rescue a small dog and plunged into the water, but was later rescued.

Staff photo by David Leaming


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