Media Archive

Brownville man drowned at Schoodic Lake

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 36, September 03, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

LAKEVIEW PLANTATION A 53-year-old Brownville Junction man drowned last week at Schoodic Lake, while trying to recover the submerged canoe he tipped over in.

Steven Douglass went out on the lake in a 15-foot canoe early in the morning on Thursday, Aug. 28, when the canoe flipped in mild chops about 100 feet from the west shore in eight to 10 feet of water.

According to Game Warden Dan Carroll, Douglass had been doing handy-man work at a camp on the lake that morning, and had the urge to go for a canoe ride.

"This was not something he does often," he said.

Douglass reportedly knew how to swim, and successfully swam halfway to shore, Carroll said, before going back to recover the canoe.

He was fully clothed, however, and not wearing a life-jacket &Mac247; two factors that, Carroll said, complicated his efforts to swim to safety.

Two witnesses on shore, Dale and Bonnie Gagne of Brownville, heard Douglass' cries for help, saw him go under, and tried to swim out to help him, despite having physical limitations, the warden said, adding "they
put their lives at risk."

Emergency personnel from Mayo Regional Hospital's Ambulance Service, Milo Fire and Rescue, and Brownville Fire came on the scene shortly after the incident was reported at 8:20 a.m. Divers and searchers on boats located Douglass about 40 minutes after he disappered from view, at approximately 9:45 a.m., and just 10 minutes after starting the search.

"Recovery was done quite quickly. We had an area where we believed he was, and he was found with the assistance of some of the people on the lake using watercraft, and rescue workers... it was a team effort," Carroll said.

Once ashore, the warden said, rescue workers "tried quite hard" to resuscitate Douglass, but were not able to revive him. His body was transported to Lary's Funeral Home in Milo.

Carroll said that it is unknown exactly what caused the canoe to flip over. He did note that the wind had blown up in gusts at that time, and although "the water was not terribly choppy, there was a chop to it."

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.