Donat Pelletier helped to save Raymond J. Bourgault from drowning, Allagash, Maine, April 1, 1986. In an isolated area 14 miles from the closest town, Bourgault, 49, and several co-workers were dismantling a temporary bridge over the partially frozen St. John River in anticipation of the spring thaw. Suddenly, the ice broke upstream and surged against the bridge, sweeping it away and taking Bourgault with it. The current carried Bourgault, whose leg was caught in wreckage of the bridge, about a half-mile downstream before the wreckage stopped in an ice jam. Bourgault’s co-worker, Pelletier, 43, forest worker, and three other men ventured onto the ice, carrying a 14-foot sloop. They ran and jumped about 400 feet across the ice chunks covering the surface of the river to Bourgault. After freeing him from the wreckage, they put him in the sloop and continued to the other bank, which was closer. A helicopter took Bourgault to a medical clinic, where he was treated for bruises; he recovered.
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