A 75-year-old man drowned after being thrown into the water from a boat into a Washington County pond.

The Maine Warden Service says Lindon Rockwell of Perry was tending baitfish traps on East Pike Brook Pond just before 1:30 PM Tuesday when the accident happened. Rockwell was leaning over to check one of his traps when the 12-foot aluminum boat he was in overturned, throwing him into the water without a lifejacket.

Two of Rockwell's friends were 350 yards away, on the shore, and saw the boat overturn. They immediately called 911 but didn't have a boat to go to his aid. Instead, they encouraged Rockwell to swim to shore, but the cold water temperatures and lack of a lifejacket made it impossible for him to swim.

Rescue crews from the Epping and Deblois Fire Departments were first on the scene, followed by members of the Maine Warden Service, Maine Marine Patrol, and the Maine Forest Service, but none were in time to save Rockwell before he drowned. One firefighter wore a survival suit to swim to the overturned boat and recover Rockwell's body about an hour after he went into the water.

Game Warden Joe McBrine says a lifejacket was found floating in the water near the boat and another was stuffed under the bow.

Inland waters are still extremely cold this time of year and hypothermia can set in quickly. Wearing a lifejacket can save your life if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly.

East Pike Brook Pond is located north of Cherryfield and east of Deblois, in Washington County.

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