Morrill man drowns in canoe accident

Posted June 14, 2009, at 9:32 p.m.

MORRILL, Maine — The use of alcohol, a lack of life jackets and the inability to swim apparently contributed to the drowning of a 23-year-old fisherman Friday night at Cross Pond.

Jared Peterson, 23, of Morrill drowned about 7:30 p.m. His body was spotted by a Maine Warden Service airplane Saturday morning and recovered.

The accident happened in 6 feet of water when Peterson and his fishing partner, Johnny Dayton, 23, of Belfast, were fishing from a canoe, according to Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“It got windy and the canoe capsized,” she said. There were no life jackets in the canoe,

Dayton told Game Warden Aaron Cross that the two men were able to hold onto the capsized canoe for a while but Peterson told Dayton he could not swim. Although Dayton could swim, he chose to remain with his friend, holding onto him, Turcotte said. Dayton eventually lost his grip and Peterson went under the water, Turcotte said.

Dayton then was able to swim to shore. Witnesses called for help and attempted to find Peterson in the water. A Warden Service dive team and six wardens were called to the scene but Peterson’s body was not found until Saturday morning.

“One of our pilots, Dan Dufault, went up Saturday morning about 8:30 a.m. and within five minutes spotted the body and it was recovered,” Turcotte said.

Alcohol was likely a contributing factor in the incident, she said.

Peterson’s body was taken to Crabiel-Riposta Funeral Home in Belfast.

Turcotte said the Maine Warden Service always encourages people to have life jackets in their boats. “We would prefer that people wear them,” she said, even though the law does not require it.

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