Maine Game Wardens on Wednesday recovered the body of a 55-year-old man who drowned after apparently falling out of his fishing boat on a pond in Oxford County.

The Warden Service says 55-year-old Thomas Averill of Roxbury was fishing alone in a 14-foot aluminum boat on Ellis Pond Tuesday evening. At around 7:50 pm, people on shore noticed a boat moving across the pond with no one on board, according to spokesman Mark Latti.

People Tried to Locate Boat and Driver as Darkness Began to Fall

Witnesses called 911 saying they noticed movement in the water and heard cries for help. Several people boated out to that area of the pond but were only able to find a hat floating in the water.

Maine Game Wardens, along with members of the Roxbury, Mexico and Rumford Fire Departments and the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the scene.

Game Wardens located the boat witnesses described, with no driver. The boat was “in gear with a fishing rod with line out, wedged against the shore of an island,” Latti said. Crews searched the shoreline of the pond and the island until 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Search Continued For Missing Roxbury Boater after Daylight

A Maine Warden Service plane and divers were brought in to search the pond early Wednesday morning, and at around 8:10 a.m., pilot Chris Hilton spotted an object on the bottom of the lake and directed divers to the spot, Latti said.

Shortly before 8:30 a.m., Warden Service divers recovered Averill’s body in about 10 feet of water approximately 200 feet from shore.

Officials say Averill was not wearing a life jacket, but there was one in the boat. He was transported by Med-Care Ambulance to Meader & Son Funeral Home in Rumford.

“Tragically, this is another incident where wearing your life jacket could have saved a life,” said Game Warden Sgt.Kyle Hladik.

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