PERRY, Maine — A member of the Perry Fire Department, assisting in a search party Monday, found the body of Arthur “Skip” Calder, 51, early in the afternoon at Pattangal Cove.
Calder apparently drowned or suffered a medical emergency while harvesting clams sometime Tuesday, Nov. 10, which is the last time anyone saw him. His body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta for autopsy.
He is the seventh Cobscook Bay fisherman to die in the water in less than a year.
Calder’s younger brother, Howard Calder, also of Perry, was part of Monday’s search party. “He lived alone. We couldn’t reach him on Sunday and so we began calling everyone he knew,” Calder said. “We thought maybe he was staying with someone, but no one had seen him since Tuesday.”
Calder said he went to his brother’s home on Cannon Hill Road and saw that Arthur Calder’s clamming gear was missing. Howard Calder then took a trail frequently used by his brother behind his home to reach the shore of East Bay.
“I walked down the trail and saw his gear on the shore. His footprints were in the mud, but they just disappeared into the water,” Howard Calder said.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources was notified that Calder was missing about 4 p.m. Sunday, according to Officer Jason Leavitt, but it was too dark to begin searching.
A search of the East Bay area was initiated at daybreak Monday. Marine Resources officers and wardens with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife participated along with family members and friends. Leavitt said a 10-mile stretch of coastline at East Bay had been searched by noon.
Several dogs with the Maine Search and Rescue Team participated and showed interest in an area of the water, handler Debbie Palman said. By noon, the decision had been made to wait until low tide to continue the search. A warden service airplane was expected to join at that point.
“This bay empties at low tide,” Leavitt said.
Just after 1 p.m., however, Calder’s body was found lying on the high tide line in a grassy area of Pattangal Cove. Leavitt said Calder’s body was found about 1.8 miles from where it is assumed the man had entered the water.
Calder is the seventh local fisherman to die in Cobscook Bay since December. Three remain missing.
On Dec. 2, 2008, Kristopher Fergerson, 27, of Lubec accidentally drowned while harvesting periwinkles.
In March 2009, the fishing vessel All American went down quickly in Cobscook Bay, killing the captain, Loren Lank, 53, of Lubec, and deckhand Logan Preston, 19, of Roque Bluffs. Lank’s body was recovered but Preston remains missing.
One month ago, on Oct. 20, the Bottom Basher, a 34-foot urchin dragger out of Lubec, sank with three fishermen on board. Searchers found the body of Daryl Cline, 41, of Lubec. The boat’s owner, Joseph Jones, 29, of Trescott, and Norman Johnson, 57, of Cutler, remain missing.