BELFAST, Maine — Despite lifesaving efforts Sunday afternoon by a sizable group of people, a Belfast man drowned in Belfast Bay.
John “Butch” Caswell, 69, suffered from dementia, according to a police report, and apparently had wandered away from his Union Street home sometime after 4 a.m. Sunday.
His wife alerted the police at 6:56 a.m. that Caswell was missing, and local law enforcement agencies launched a search that included dogs, a Fire Department boat and Maine State Police.
Members of Caswell’s congregation at the Calvary Chapel went looking for him after their service, and a 17-year-old boy spotted him about 12:45 p.m. floating in waist-deep water near Heritage Park, according to Belfast police Officer Michael Rolerson.
“The kid found him. He hollered and jumped into the water and started pulling him towards shore,” Rolerson said.
Other congregation members aided them, and some began CPR, which continued until rescue crews arrived.
“The church asked us all to help find him,” said Adrian Arbo, who was at the park.
The scene there was grim, with a tight cluster of more than a dozen emergency workers and other people performing CPR and sliding the man’s body onto an orange emergency stretcher.
A woman wept while being comforted by two other people, and a teenager standing nearby with damp clothes looked shaken.
Caswell was taken to Waldo County General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Rolerson said.