Watch: Coast Guard rescues stranded boaters by helicopter

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BRADLEY, Maine (WABI/Gray News) - Four men are safe and uninjured after a dramatic rescue on the water.

Four men needed to be rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter after getting stranded on a river. (Source: WABI/Gray News)

Three of the men are students at the University of Maine, and according to the school, they were out on the Penobscot River doing field work.

"They put their boat in, in an area of town that's pretty sketchy to put a boat in and they were unable to get it out," explained Capt. Mike Hildreth with the Old Town Fire Department. "So they were trying another location and they hit a rock pretty much dead center."

That's when the group made a call for help.

"A warden attempted a rescue and his boat became submerged. He ended up in the boat with them," Hildreth siad.

By that time, it was night and emergency crews were concerned about attempting another rescue. They didn’t have access to helicopters equipped to fly after dark.

"We can't get a boat in the section of the river because the water is so low," Hildreth said. "Lot of metal, lot of rocks. Our last resort was to call the Coast Guard out of Cape Cod."

Responders called the four men every 15 minutes to make sure they were OK.

Then the Coast Guard came to the rescue.

Guardsmen hoisted themselves down over the stranded group, individually plucking the victims up into the aircraft.

"In no way is this a safe area to be in, especially in the middle of November," Hildreth said.

The four were flown to Bangor International Airport where they where medical crews looked them over.

"No injuries, just cold," Hildreth said.

Authorities are grateful the Coast Guard was available to help.

"We're very gracious," Hildreth said. "They traveled a long way to get here. Did a fantastic job. It's great that all these agencies can work together when we need to."

The four men spent about five hours on the boat before the rescue was complete.

A statement from the University of Maine thanked all first responders involved in the rescue.

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