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Maine Game Wardens recovered the body of a 55-year-old Roxbury man who appears to have drowned after falling out of his fishing boat last night, July 26.

Thomas Averill, 55, of Roxbury was out fishing on Ellis Pond alone in a 14-foot aluminum boat. At approximately 7:50 pm, people on shore noticed an aluminum boat moving across the pond with no one on board, and then noticed movement in the water and heard cries for help. They called 911, and several people boated out to the location but were unable to locate anyone but did find a hat floating in the water.

Maine Game Wardens, along with first responders from fire departments in Roxbury, Mexico and Rumford, and the Oxford Sheriff’s Office all responded to the scene.

Game Wardens found the boat witnesses described, with no driver, in gear with a fishing rod with line out, wedged against the shore of an island. Crews searched the shoreline of the pond and the island until 12:30 a.m. this morning.

A Maine Warden Service Plane and Maine warden service divers began searching the pond this morning, and at approximately 8:10 a.m., Game Warden Pilot Chris Hilton spotted on object on the bottom of the lake and directed divers to the area. At approximately 8:30 a.m., game warden divers recovered the body of Averill in approximately 10’ of water 200 feet from shore.

Averill was not wearing a life jacket, but there was one in the boat. Averill was transported to Meader and Son Funeral Home in Rumford. The Maine Warden Service, Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, Med-Care Ambulance, Roxbury Fire Department, Mexico Fire Department, and the Rumford Fire Department all responded to the scene.

“It appears that Averill was out fishing, and fell out of his boat while not wearing a life jacket when the boat was still in gear and moving forward,” said Game Warden Sergeant Kyle Hladik. “Tragically, this is another incident where wearing your life jacket could have saved a life.”

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