Bodies of 2 who drowned in lake found; officials say frigid water likely factor

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Game wardens from the Maine Warden Service on a dive boat searching Messalonskee Lake at night using the sidescan sonar attached to the bow. (Courtesy photo)

SIDNEY, Maine - Maine Game Warden Divers on Tuesday recovered two young men who drowned while swimming on Messalonskee Lake the day before.

Through the night game wardens searched an 80-acre area utilizing the sidescan sonar on the Warden Service dive boat. At about 2 a.m., game wardens located a first and then a second likely object on the lake bottom and marked the areas in order to return with divers at daylight.

At approximately 8 a.m., Game Warden divers entered the water and at 8:15 a.m. recovered Brandon Breton, age 21 of Vassalboro and at 8:30 a.m. recovered Joseph Mayo, 19 of Rome. Divers recovered the two men in about 35 feet of water, approximately 200 feet apart in an area northwest of Greeley Island on Messalonskee Lake. Game wardens had focused the search on an 80-acre area of the 3,500 acre lake based upon the GPS location of the 911 call, and interviews with the two surviving men.

Breton and Mayo were swimming with two other male friends off of a pontoon boat at the southern end of Messalonskee Lake near Greely Island early Monday afternoon. A strong gust of wind pushed the pontoon boat away from the swimmers, and two of the males were able to swim to the drifting boat, but Breton and Mayo went under and never resurfaced.

"While the air temperatures may seem like summer, water temperatures are still cold, and they can impact your ability to swim," said Game Warden Lieutenant Dan Menard. "Boater should wear their life jackets and swimmers should know their ability, and swim in areas appropriate for their experience."

The initial search included the Maine Wardens Service using boats and an airplane, and also assisting in the initial search was a Maine Forest Service helicopter, and the Belgrade, Sidney and Oakland Fire Departments.

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