The Saco River claimed the life of another on Tuesday when Fryeburg Police Officer Nathan M. Desjardins, 20, died from injuries he sustained during a water rescue attempt on May 27.

On May 30, Maine game wardens recovered the body of a South Berwick woman from the Saco River on Tuesday, three days after her canoe capsized.

Desjardins had been listed in critical condition at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston since the day of the mishap.

He and another Fryeburg Police officer had crashed their patrol boat on the river while responding to the rescue call.

“In the course of a police officer’s responsibilities, they expose themselves to very

real risks and dangers every day. Members of the Fryeburg Police Department are

deeply saddened by the tragic death of our colleague. We offer our deepest and

most heartfelt condolences to the family, fellow colleagues and friends of Nathan,” Police Chief Joshua Potvin said in a written statement issued Wednesday.

Divers found the body of 38-year-old Jennifer Bousquet roughly 350 yards downstream from where the canoe in which she had been paddling overturned. Bousquet and her boyfriend, Brian Day, 54, also of South Berwick, had lost control of their canoe. Day was able to make it to safety.

Desjardins had joined the department three months earlier. It was his first water rescue. One of the officers, Dale Strout, 51, the other officer in the patrol boat was released earlier from Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

“During this extremely difficult time of mourning the loss of one of my own, I have to find the words and strength to inspire my officers, to motivate them and reassure them that together we will be okay and still have a job to do,” Chief Potvin said in a statement. “I ask that you keep Officer Desjardins’ family in your thoughts and prayers as well as our law enforcement and first-responder community during this extremely difficult time.”

Nathan Desjardins


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