A Perry man drowned Tuesday afternoon when his boat overturned in a remote pond Down East.

Lindon Rockwell, 75, was tending baitfish traps on East Pike Brook Pond when he leaned over to check a trap, overturning his 12-foot aluminum boat. Rockwell was thrown into the water without a life jacket, according to the Maine Warden Service.

Rockwell’s two friends on shore saw the boat overturn around 1:20 p.m. and called 911. They were about 350 feet from Rockwell when he went into the water and could not reach him because they did not have a boat. The friends encouraged Rockwell to swim to shore but without a life jacket, he unable to swim in the cold water and drowned, according to the warden service.

One life jacket was found floating in the water near the boat and another was stowed under the bow. 

“Inland waters are still extremely cold this time of year, and hypothermia can set in quickly,” Game Warden Joe McBrine said. “Wearing a life jacket can save your life if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly.”

A firefighter wearing a survival suit was able to swim to the overturned boat and recovered Rockwell’s body at 2:30 p.m. The Epping and Dublois fire departments, warden service, Maine Marine Patrol and Maine Forest Service responded to the pond after the 911 call.

East Pike Brook Pond is located north of Cherryfield and east of Deblois in Washington County.

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