Divers find body of fisherman who drowned in Blake Lake
BLAKE LAKE – Divers have found the body of Ron Toussaint, 57, of Eagle Lake, who drowned after a boating accident on Monday night in Blake Lake near Eagle Lake, Maine.
According to Lt. Tom Ward of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Division, Toussaint was fishing with his friend, Jason Dube, 37, of Eagle Lake, in a 12-foot motorboat. Toussaint was in back and Dube was in the front of the boat. At around 6:30 p.m., the boat capsized 75 yards from shore. Authorities have not said why the boat capsized.
Neither of the men were wearing life jackets, but Dube made it to shore. He called the accident into the state police as soon as he drove far enough out of the woods to get cell reception.
Authorities received notification of the accident at approximately 7:45 p.m., and first responders were on the scene by 9 p.m. The small lake is difficult to reach by vehicle.
Five wardens searched until 12:30 p.m. Monday night. Ward said, "Typically when we get a call, we don't know if the victim made it to shore, so they searched the shoreline first. They try to get a good PLS (point last seen)."
The search that night was unsuccessful, although Ward said wardens were present at the lake for most of the night.
Ward said, "Logistically, this was a tough search. The roads are bad, communication is poor, and the travel time for the dive team was long." He said some of the dive team members left their homes at midnight on the evening of the accident. One of the dive team members came from as far south as Portland.
Divers were at the scene by 8:30 a.m. the following morning. Retired Warden Gary Dumond performed an aerial search in the warden service's plane.
The dive team found the body quickly, shortly before 10 a.m.
Ward said, "We found him on the first tank." Divers located Toussaint in 14 feet of water.
Authorities had notified family members the night before, and they were on hand when divers removed the body and sent it to the funeral home.
Ward said, "It's good for the family. It puts some closure on this."
Ward stressed the importance of wearing life jackets when boating.
"I can't say enough about wearing PFDs," said Ward. "You might be a strong swimmer, but it doesn't take long to lose feeling in your arms and legs."
He said two weeks ago in southern Maine, officials recorded water temperatures of 38 degrees.
"It slows you down. Your muscles just don't work."
Fourteen wardens, including the dive teams, were involved in the search and recovery.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are still investigating the accident.
Blake Lake is east of Eagle Lake in T16 R6.