Brunswick man drowns despite rescue attempts

Posted July 18, 2011, at 6:43 p.m.

WOOLWICH, Maine — A Brunswick man died of an apparent drowning in Woolwich on Sunday night, according to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department.

Woolwich emergency medical responders joined a crew from Northeast Ambulance Service and Sheriff’s Department officials just before 8 p.m. Sunday at the Nequasset swimming and boat launch, located behind the Woolwich town office and fire station, after receiving a report of a drowning.

Rescuers arrived to discover James Knowlen, 37, lying on the ground. According to a Sheriff’s Department report, Knowlen had been pulled to shore after having been submerged 30 feet from the shore.

Efforts to revive Knowlen at the scene and during transportation to Mid Coast Hospital were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead.

The Sheriff’s Department reported that Knowlen’s mother, Sandra, also of Brunswick, was swimming with him at the time of the incident.

“She attempted to get her son out of the water while he was in distress, but was being pushed under water herself,” stated a department news release issued Monday morning. “She had to break free, swim ashore and run to a male subject in the parking lot [for help], later identified as Tyler Warnke of Hedge Bridge Road in Woolwich.”

Warnke then allegedly went into the water to find James Knowlen, who was submerged. Warnke dragged Knowlen to shore, where he was found by rescuers arriving on the scene.

The case is being investigated by Deputy Matt Shiers and Cpl. Adam Baker of the Sheriff’s Department. The department’s report Monday states that there is no reason to suspect foul play in the incident.

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