CAMDEN, Maine — A man rowing on Megunticook Lake with a friend apparently suffered a medical emergency before he fell into the water Tuesday morning, according to the town’s fire chief.

The Maine Warden Service is leading the recovery effort for the body of 71-year-old James B. Wescott, according to John MacDonald, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. MacDonald said warden divers are searching an area where the water is 60- to 65-feet deep.

Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley said members of the fire department, Northeast Health Emergency Medical Services, and the Camden Police Department responded to the emergency call that came in at 8:29 a.m. Tuesday. Wescott and an unnamed friend were rowing in individual sculls — long, narrow boats propelled by oars — when the friend heard the other man yell out his name.

The man said he turned to see his friend clutching his chest and fall into the water.

The fire chief said there were a couple of private boats on the lake at the time and the boaters searched as did first responders in a vessel from the Lincolnville Fire Department. Camden had rescue swimmers search for about a half hour before they were taken out of the water for their safety because of hypothermia concerns, he said.

The incident occurred on the southern part of the lake, he said. The Maine Warden Service was staging its recovery efforts from the Camden Public Boat Access off Route 105.

Warden Service Sgt. Bruce Loring said the agency needed to wait for divers, who had been in Caribou Monday for a drowning in the Aroostook River, to travel to Camden.

Warden Service Chaplain Kate Braestrup was on scene, as was a camera crew from North Woods Law. Braestrup said a cottage owner on the lake opened up his home for family members of Wescott to use while they wait for updates.

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