APPLETON, Maine — An 83-year-old man who was plowing a pond to allow children to skate was rescued after the tractor broke through the ice.

The man survived the mishap in part because of his own generosity: Two people who had been allowed to cross-country ski on his property heard his cries and called for help.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office was called to a pond off Appleton Ridge Road at 2:45 p.m. for a report of a man and his tractor in the water, according to Knox County Chief Deputy Tim Carroll.

Tree Roth of Union and Dora Lievow of Camden had been cross-country skiing on the ridge across from the pond when they heard someone yelling for help. Roth and Lievow went to the area and found George Stevenson up to his chest in the water, clinging onto his tractor.

Stevenson was unable to move.

First responders from Appleton Fire and Union Ambulance were able to get Stevenson off the tractor and to shore. He was taken by Union Ambulance to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.

Stevenson was doing fine at the hospital, Carroll said.

Roth and Lievow discussed how lucky it was that they had been cross-country skiing at that particular time, he said.

“I fear the outcome would have been worse otherwise,” the chief deputy said.

Roth said they happened to be there because of Stevenson’s generosity in allowing public access to his property for people to recreate and enjoy the land and water.