A group of Hingham Boy Scouts sprang into action last weekend to rescue 10 men whose canoes capsized in the rapids of a New Hampshire river.
While on a camping trip along the Androscoggin River, Hingham's Troop 4 had just completed training on how to empty and flip a swamped canoe on Saturday when, much to their disbelief, 10 men and a dog emerged from the rapids 100 yards from the scout's sandbar. The men's canoes had capsized up the river, sending them into 55 degree water.
"The lesson we learned was fresh in our brain, so we focused on the thing we had to do, to get them to shore," Adam Praschma, 12, of Hingham said. "We knew we had to get them as quick out of the water as possible."
The National Weather Service issued an alert earlier in the day about the dangerously cold water, the scouts said, so they knew they had to act fast. They took to the water and rowed their canoes to the men.
"Everyone was in a big hurry because we realized it was freezing," said 13-year-old Henry duBose of Hingham. "Walking out putting your feet in it, you could realize how cold it was."
The troop righted the men's canoes, helped some get back in, and brought them all to shore, including the dog. Some were visibly cold, the boys said.
"If they had been in the water a little more they would have gotten hypothermia," Praschma said. "We told them to breathe slowly so they can calm down."
DuBose said at first he and some of the boys thought it was staged because of the lesson they had just minutes before.
"We realized oh no. .... it wasn't staged," he said. "Wow, it was such a crazy coincidence."
The men were camping nearby and the boys said they thanked them over and over.
Praschma said he does not feel like a hero, but it is nice to know that he helped someone.
"It feels really good," duBose said. "If we weren't there they would have probably drifted another half mile to a mile down stream."
Troop 4 is made up of Hingham boys age 12 to 18. Praschma, duBose, Nick Anderson, Grady Flinn, Oscar Kester, Mark Sommers, Dan O'Connor, and Luke Turnak were on the trip.
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