Updated: Lobsterman drowns in Harpswell

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HARPSWELL — Authorities say they may never know exactly how a lobsterman who died Dec. 31 ended up in the 40-degree waters of Quahog Bay.

According to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Christopher M. Hanna, 27, of Bath, drowned after falling from the Emily & Logan, a two-man lobster boat fishing in east Harpswell.

“It’s not clear if (Hanna) slipped or not,” said Capt. Don Goulet of the sheriff’s office. “There may always be an element of mystery to this.”

Goulet said investigating authorities are awaiting autopsy and toxicology results from the Medical Examiner’s Office. Goulet said there was no preliminary indication that drugs or alcohol were a factor.

According to the sheriff’s office, Mark Merrill, the captain of the vessel, noticed Hanna was missing about a half mile from the wharf of Webber and Sons Lobsters Inc.

Merrill quickly located Hanna floating unconsious in the water. According to the sheriff’s office, nearby fisherman helped Merrill pull Hanna from the water and onto the boat. Hanna was rushed to the dock where CPR was performed.

Hanna was then transported to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick where he was pronounced dead.

Goulet said Hanna had been working on gear near the boat’s running sail before he fell overboard into 40 degree water. Goulet added that there was no indication of foul play, saying that Merrill “threw out his back” while attempting to pull Hanna out of the water.

The incident ocurred around 6:30 a.m. as local lobsterman were scrambling to haul their traps and beat an approaching storm.

The sheriff’s office, the Maine Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard are investigating the cause of the incident.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or [email protected]