Drowning in Saint John River on Maine-New Brunswick Border Under Investigation
A 64-year-old man who drowned while attempting to cross the Saint John River from northern New Brunswick to Maine with two other people was originally from India and had been working in the Madawaska area.
The Saint-François-de-Madawaska Fire Department was called around 9 p.m. Thursday, after residents heard a panicked woman screaming for help and calling for her father, according to CIMT-TV.
The Saint-Léonard RCMP, multiple fire departments and Ambulance New Brunswick also responded to the river near Saint-François-de-Madawaska, N.B.
Two people rescued from river Thursday night, one man missing
Rescuers located a 22-year-old woman as she was struggling against the current and helped her to safety. The woman, who was also from India, was transported to the Edmundston Regional Hospital suffering from hypothermia. She remained in intensive care on Friday, CIMT reported.
The Fort Kent Fire Department on the U.S. side of the border responded to the same emergency call Thursday night and reportedly rescued a man who had managed to cross the river. There is no word on that man’s identity at this time.
An operation was set in motion to find the young woman’s father, who was presumed to still be in the river. Firefighters from Lac Baker, N.B. used their boat to search for the missing man. Fort Kent firefighters also navigated the area but the search was suspended around midnight.
Search teams from Maine and N.B. deployed along the Saint John River at daybreak
The search resumed Friday morning on both sides of the border. Clair and Edmundston fire brigades were called in as were members of the Maine Warden Service. An RCMP helicopter was also dispatched to the area.
At around 10:45 a.m. Friday, Wardens found the body of the missing man on the New Brunswick side of the river across from St. John Plantation, Maine. Officials say the evidence suggests that the man lost his footing on the rocks in a deep channel of the river and was swept away by the current.
Victim of drowning had been working in New Brunswick, after moving from India
The 64-year-old foreign worker had been employed by the Nadeau Poultry processing plant in Saint-François de Madawaska for the last few years, according to CIMT. His colleagues said they were shocked and saddened by his passing. They also indicated that the man’s wife had just arrived in the area, and there seemed to be no reason for him to want to leave the country.
According to CIMT, the young woman did not have a work permit and was required to leave Canada.
The RCMP and U.S. Border Patrol is continuing their investigation. An autopsy will be scheduled to determine the man's exact cause of death.