A woman who climbed down on the rocks at Pemaquid Point with her husband on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 24, to get a closer look at high surf was surprised by a rogue wave, which knocked her into the icy Atlantic.
The unidentified woman, who Bristol Fire Chief Paul Leeman Jr. said was from an inland Maine town, emerged from the water soaked, cold, and “unhurt, but very lucky,” Leeman said Monday, Jan. 25.
The couple was among a group of people who climbed onto the rocks to watch the stormy sea churned up by remnants of a storm that buried much of the East Coast in snow this weekend.
A town official had walked down to the rocks every half-hour or so on Sunday just to warn people away from the rocks, where only last summer a father and son were also knocked into the water by a wave.
“The waves are good for five or 10 minutes and then, as usual, larger waves started coming in and they just got caught up in it,” Leeman said. “Luckily they were on the west side of the rock, which allowed her not to be pulled back into the ocean.”
Leeman said people frequently disregard warning signs and wander too close to the surf.
“You can see what you need to see and smell what you need to smell from the safe haven of the lighthouse,” he said. “But for some reason, they need to get closer … they pay no regard. They have no idea these waves are not all the same size.”
The woman showed signs of hypothermia, Leeman said, and an ambulance was called, but her husband said he would take her to the hospital to be evaluated.