Maine man's attempt to save deer nearly cost him his life

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A deer that fell through the ice and almost cost a man his life is released on shore. (Courtesy photo/

PRINCETON, Maine - A Princeton man is lucky to be alive after he was rescued from the icy waters of Long Lake on Monday.

In order to help a deer that had fallen through the ice on Long Lake, Rick Crowe, 63, had put on a life jacket and tried to take a canoe out onto the ice to rescue the deer. The canoe overturned, throwing Crowe into the frigid water a little after 8:30 a.m. Tina Crowe, Rick's wife, immediately called Game Warden Brad Richard who was in the area.

Richard went to the scene, saw Crowe in the water with his lifejacket, and immediately got the Warden Service Airboat that was stored at the nearby Princeton Airport, as well as Princeton Fire Chief Tony Ramsdell and Princeton Firefighter Chris McPhee. He also alerted the Indian Township Police and Indian Township Ambulance.

The three rescuers crossed the lake to where Crowe was in the water, and Ramsdell, who was wearing a cold water rescue suit, jumped into the water to secure Crowe who was conscious but severely hypothermic. The three men got Crowe into the airboat and got him to shore where the Indian Township Ambulance was waiting. He body temperature was 89 degrees when he was transported to Calais Regional Hospital. Hypothermia normally begins to set in when it falls below 95.

Warden Richard and the two others then went and retrieved the canoe and also brought the deer to shore.

Game wardens remind everyone that the ice this year can be treacherous, as warm weather and rains in December have left many lakes and ponds with far less ice than normal. Game Wardens remind everyone to check ice thickness before heading out for any activity on the ice.

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