Drowning victim identified as Linneus man

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted June 29, 2011, at 9:26 a.m.

WESTON, Maine — The body of a 33-year-old Linneus man was found Wednesday morning in 17 feet of water after he drowned in Deering Lake on Tuesday evening.

Edie Smith, the director of information and education for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said Wednesday that Leslie Sawyer, 33, was found just after 10 a.m.

Deering Lake is approximately five miles north of Danforth.

Smith said Wednesday that the couple was at the lake visiting a camp owned by a friend. They were the only two people at the camp, and the boat belonged to the owner of the dwelling.

The victim drowned when the 12-foot jon boat took on water after he took a hard left and its occupants found themselves in the lake about 9:30 p.m. The Maine Warden Service was called a short time later.

A jon boat is a form of a boat that is flat-bottomed and made of wood or aluminum. That style boat often is used by fishermen and hunters.

The victim could not swim and neither he nor Cheryl Sawyer, 31, were wearing personal flotation devices. Smith said Sawyer tried to hold on to the man’s body as long as she could before she was forced to let go.

Alcohol also was a contributing factor, wardens said.

Warden Service divers arrived on the scene just before 9 a.m. Wednesday and searched the lake for about an hour before they found the victim.

Due to the inclement weather, Warden Service airplanes were not able to participate in the search, but Danforth Fire and Rescue assisted the Warden Service with the effort.

Game Warden Kevin Pelkey led the recovery effort.

Warden Service Lt. Tom Ward urged boaters to wear personal flotation devices at all times and to not drive watercraft while impaired.

“This tragic accident could have been prevented,” he said Wednesday.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/06/29/news/down-east/searchers-looking-for-body-of-drowning-victim-in-weston/ printed on August 20, 2014