Portland teenager drowns in Falmouth

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FALMOUTH — A 17-year-old Portland boy drowned Saturday in the Presumpscot River near the Allen Avenue bridge.

Police Lt. John Kilbride said Mohamed Hassan, a Deering High School senior, was swimming in the river with friends when he apparently became distressed in approximately 12 feet of water and went under.

“His friends jumped in, but the water is very murky, it’s hard to see,” Kilbride said.

When they couldn’t find Hassan, his friends called the boy’s father, who then called 911. In addition to emergency medical personnel from Falmouth, the Maine Marine Patrol and Yarmouth dive team responded around 7 p.m. Saturday evening.

Hassan’s body was found approximately 5 feet from where he went under.

Kilbride said there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol, but that a toxic substances screen would be administered as a matter of protocol.

Hassan played soccer for Deering and was one of the team’s leaders.

“Mohamed had been talking about being captain all summer,” Deering soccer coach Joel Costigan said Monday. “He would text me at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m., about soccer.”

Costigan said Hassan had many friends on the team and that they’ve all been shaken by the loss.

“He was always smiling, a really happy-go-lucky kid,” Costigan said.

Costigan said he and Hassan’s teammates went to the river on Sunday night for a vigil, and have remembrances planned for their upcoming home game on Thursday at 5 p.m.

He said the team plans to make Hassan an honorary captain and will be wearing wrist bands with his number, 7, for the rest of the season.

Grief counselors were meeting with students Monday morning at the school, and Portland High School has made counselors available for Hassan’s friends there.

“He was always respectful to me and eager to prove people wrong when they doubted him,” Costigan said. “He was still trying to figure out his role as a leader, but he led by example.”

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.

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