JEFFERSON, Maine — The body of a missing Massachusetts fisherman was recovered Monday morning by the Maine Warden Service from Damariscotta Lake in Jefferson.
Victor Hardmon, 20, of Norton, Mass., had been fishing in a canoe about 7:30 Sunday evening with his friend Brian James Malvey, 20, of Auburn, Mass., when the boat capsized.
“The two men were standing up in the canoe as they were fishing,” said Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “One may have been casting a line when the canoe capsized. They had life jackets, but they left them onshore.”
Malvey and a dog made it safely to shore near the Bunker Hill Road boat launch, then Malvey returned to the site of the capsized canoe and tried to help his friend. A person watching from shore saw what had happened and called for help. Turcotte said that she didn’t know whether Hardmon was able to swim but that alcohol was not a factor, according to Maine Warden Service Sgt. Mark Warren.
Rescue crews called off the search for Hardmon shortly after 10 p.m. because of darkness, Turcotte said.
On Monday morning, searchers spent about an hour and a half in the 65-degree lake before they located Hardmon’s body in about 20 feet of water, 100 yards from shore. His body was found close to where the canoe had capsized and was taken to the Strong Funeral Home in Damariscotta.
The Maine Warden Service and its dive team, the Bristol Fire Department, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, Central Lincoln County Ambulance and other local rescue crews searched for Hardmon.
Malvey did not require medical treatment in a hospital, Turcotte said.
The incident is under investigation, she said, adding that Hardmon’s family had been notified of the fatal accident.
“We strongly encourage people to carry life jackets and make sure they are accessible when on the water. We prefer that people wear them,” Turcotte said. “They do save lives.”