“Distressed swimmer” had been drinking before late night rescue

WEBSTER — Police and a trio of civilians pulled off a late night rescue on Independence Day, saving a man who may have otherwise drowned in Webster Lake.

According to the Webster Police Department, Sergeants Patrick Perry and Aaron DeSantis were conducting an investigation on Birch Island Road around 10:30 p.m. when all available units were dispatched to the area of 27 South Point Road for a report of an intoxicated male that was drowning.

Perry and DeSantis asked Birch Island Road resident Anthony Detarnado to bring them by boat to the area of the report. According to a statement issued by the Webster Police Department, Detarnado “immediately” agreed and took the police, as well as civilians Corey Mailloux and Shawn Smith, to the area of South Point Road by boat.

According to police, as the boat passed Point Breeze and neared South Point Road, Sgt. Perry spotted a distressed male “estimated to be about 350-400 feet from the shore line, but under two to three feet of water.” As a precaution, the boat’s engine was turned off in order to avoid any possibility of propellers causing injury, but the man still wound up beneath the vessel.

Sgt. Perry jumped into the water to help the male, but police said the man’s “panicked state” proved to make the rescue difficult. Sgt. Perry called for additional help, prompting Mailloux to jump into the water while Sgt. DeSantis “provided light from the boat for them as they helped to save the man from drowning,” police reported.

Detarnado maneuvered the boat alongside the rescuers and the unidentified man, who was then pulled into the boat by Sgt. DeSantis and Smith with the aid of Sgt. Perry and Mailloux.

The rescuers took the man into Point Breeze Restaurant, where police said he was treated by Webster EMS before being transported to UMass Hospital in Worcester as a precaution.

Police said a subsequent investigation into the matter that the man had been drinking alcohol and had at one point fallen, hitting his head.

According to the Webster Police Department, the man’s injuries do not appear to be life-threatening and nobody else was injured in the incident.

“The Webster Police Department is grateful to Mr. Detarnado, Shawn Smith, Corey Mailloux, and Daniel Lacy, who allowed Officer Dan Mehlhouse to take his boat and search for the distressed swimmer,” police posted on social media. “There is no doubt that actions of all those involved prevented a drowning [on July 4].”

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