Emergency crews line the Brandon M. Silk Memorial Bridge in Orono after a young man was reported to be in distress in the Stillwater River. Credit: Nina Mahaleris / BDN

A University of Maine student drowned in the Stillwater River in Orono Saturday afternoon after reportedly jumping off the Brandon M. Silk Memorial Bridge.

Police learned at 4:50 p.m. that Regan McCleary, 19, of Buxton, was in distress in the water, according to the Orono Police Department. A bystander swam out to him to try to help, but was unsuccessful, Chief Josh Ewing said in the press release.

Rescuers launched a large-scale rescue and recovery attempt, which included boats from the Orono and Old Town fire departments, a helicopter from the Maine Forest Service and responders from the Maine Warden Service. The Down East Emergency Medicine Institute, of Orono, also helped at the scene with a drone team and thermal heat-detecting equipment.

An Orono Fire and Rescue boat crew found McCleary’s body at about 7 p.m. that day. The incident is still under investigation by the Orono Police Department.

McCleary was a mechanical engineering major and a Dean’s List student, according to an email sent to the University of Maine community, which said he was kind, friendly and motivated student.

“This tragedy is a loss for all of us at UMaine and beyond,” Robert Dana, dean of students, wrote in the message.