A 75-year-old Perry man drowned yesterday, May 3, when the boat he was working in overturned on a small remote pond in Downeast Maine.
Lindon Rockwell of Perry was tending baitfish traps on East Pike Brook Pond when he leaned over to check one of his traps, the 12-foot aluminum boat he was in overturned, throwing him into the water without a lifejacket.
Rockwell’s two friends on shore saw the boat overturn, and immediately called 911. They were over 350 yards away, and without another boat, they were unable to get to Rockwell. They encouraged Rockwell to swim to shore, but with the cold water temperatures and no lifejacket, Rockwell was unable to swim and drowned.
Epping and Deblois fire departments were the first on the scene, followed by members of the Maine Warden Service, Maine Marine Patrol, and the Maine Forest Service. One firefighter wearing a survival suit was able to swim to the overturned boat, and recovered the body at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Rockwell was not wearing a lifejacket, but one was found floating in the water near the boat, and another was stuffed under the bow of the overturned boat.
Game Warden Joe McBrine said:
Inland waters are still extremely cold this time of year, and hypothermia can set in quickly… Wearing a lifejacket can save your life if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly.
Rockwell was transported by Cherryfield Ambulance Company to the McLure Funeral Home in Machias. East Pike Brook Pond is located north of Cherryfield and east of Deblois in Washington County.