Survivor says gunshot saved lives during boating accident

boat accident

Phillip Langevin was one of four people involved in a boating accident over the weekend that claimed one life. (Photo: WGME)

A Maine resident involved in a boating accident with three others Sunday morning said they were rescued thanks to a gunshot that alerted a nearby boater they were in distress.

The group was about 10 miles from the coast when their boat starting taking on water.

Water filled the back of the boat, so the group went to the front of the boat in an effort to keep it stable. But their efforts came to an end when a 3-foot wave crashed over the boat, causing it to capsize.

“It went up and then kind of twisted and threw us,” Phillip Langevin said. “Those guys went one direction. I went in another. Had a life jacket in my hand and it got caught in the boat and I couldn’t get it.”

After the boat flipped, three of the men were able to grab onto the capsized boat, but the fourth person, 53-year-old Elizabeth Douglass, was nowhere to be found.

“Her boyfriend said he had ahold of her. And the force pulled her out from his arms,” Langevin said. “The last thing any of us heard her say is, ‘I can’t swim.’ And we didn’t know if she had sunk or got washed off.”

Douglass did not survive. Langevin said they had lifejackets in the boat, but weren’t able to get them.

“They were all ready to grab if we had the time,” Langevin said. “But we didn’t have the time.”

Langevin said they were struggling to stay afloat and were unsure how they would be rescued when he remembered his friend had a gun.

“Flare guns and everything else was under the boat,” Langevin said. “And I told Jim, I said, ‘Fire your gun.’”

The gunshot was heard by another boater who was about a half a mile away and came to rescue the remaining survivors.

Langevin indicated he was unsure they would have survived had his friend not had the gun to alert the nearby boater they needed help.

[ Bangor Daily News ]