Update: Pownal man's body recovered in Androscoggin River

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BRUNSWICK — Divers from the Maine Warden Service on Aug. 22 recovered the body of a man who went missing Aug. 20 after reportedly attempting to swim across the Androscoggin River. 

The body of Brian Jewett, 30, of Pownal, was found above the hydroelectric dam.

Brunswick police said last week that witnesses saw Jewett attempting to swim from the Topsham side of the river to Brunswick near the area of the Swinging Bridge. Witnesses called police around 2 p.m. Aug. 20 when Jewett didn’t  rise after he was pulled beneath the surface.

His disappearance initiated a three-day search by local and state police, as well as the warden service and other state agencies.

Jewett’s body was found at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday, which would have been his 31st birthday.

The Maine Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the official cause of death.

The incident  followed warnings from the Brunswick Police Department about the dangers of high waters and rapid currents in the Androscoggin. On Aug. 14 three people became stranded on a rock after being swept up in the current. All three were rescued. 

On Friday, Aug. 21, Brunswick Police Department Cmdr. Kevin Schofield said authorities had not confirmed they were looking for Jewett. But witness reports identified the missing swimmer as Jewett, according to Brunswick Police Chief Richard Rizzo.

“Yesterday, there were several different reports of a white male, approximately in his early 30s, that was swimming from the Topsham side of the Androscoggin River … toward the Brunswick side,” Schofield said while standing on the pedestrian Swinging Bridge on Friday.

Schofield said witnesses, who called in around 2 p.m. Thursday, reported that the swimmer showed signs of trouble in the middle of the river. “The witnesses saw the person come up and out of the water several different times, and then go down and he didn’t come up, so they immediately called the Brunswick police, 911,” he said. “We responded and started checking the shorelines and the brushy areas.”

Aircraft and dive teams searched for the man, and the Police Department was joined by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine State Police, the Brunswick Fire Department and the Topsham Police and Fire departments. Search dogs sniffed the perimeter of the river to see if the man could have reached the shore.

In order to increase visibility for the dive teams, Florida Power & Light Co. lowered the river approximately 8 feet.

Steve Mistler contributed to this story. Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

Sidebar Elements

mc-brundrowning-082809.JPGMaine Warden Service diver Tony Gray surfaces on Aug. 22 after searching the Androscoggin River between Brunswick and Topsham for 30-year-old Brian Jewett of Pownal. Jewett’s body was eventually discovered later in the day.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.