AUGUSTA — The state Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the cause of death of Missouri newspaper executive Walter Lage, 66.

Lage died of “accidental drowning” after stepping off a private dock at 14 Whidden Road in Harpswell late Thursday night. He was visiting Maine for an annual gathering of newspaper executives.

According to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, several witnesses saw Lage slip from the wharf. One person jumped into the water to find him, but Lage never resurfaced. The Sheriff’s Department said Lage may have become caught beneath a float, where his body was discovered about 30 minutes later.

Lage was chief operating officer of Rust Communications of Cape Girardeau, Mo.

According to Harpswell property records, the wharf where Lage fell is shared by several property owners, including James Costello Jr., vice president of operations at Sun Media Group of Lewiston. Sun Media owns The Forecaster and the Sun Journal in Lewiston.

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