The Maine Marine Patrol and other public safety agencies searched for a Georgetown man until nearly 9 p.m. Saturday after he went missing while swimming in the Kennebec River in Bowdoinham. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

BOWDOINHAM — Divers recovered the body of  John Charles Holmes,70, of Georgetown on Sunday morning, about 7 hours after he went missing during a swim in the Kennebec River in Bowdoinham.

Searchers found Holmes’ body around 8:30 a.m. Sunday, the Maine Department of Marine Resources said in a news release.

Holmes was swimming with a friend Saturday afternoon just south of Swan Island, where they had anchored an 18-foot boat, Marine Patrol Officer Clint Thompson said. Holmes started to struggle swimming in the current and shouted for help. The friend swam back to the boat in hopes of using it to help rescue Holmes, but “[Holmes] went under,” Thompson said.

The friend called 911 for help around 3:30 p.m. Thompson said the Maine Marine Patrol and Maine Warden Service searched by boat and the Maine Forest Service searched from a helicopter throughout the afternoon and evening. The search was suspended for the night around 9 p.m. and restarted around 6 a.m. Sunday.

Thompson said divers found Holmes’ body close to the boat, which stayed at anchor during the search.

Divers with Maine State Police and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife helped in search efforts. They used a side-scan sonar, which detects objects underwater, to find Holmes in the murky water.

A dive team returns to the Richmond waterfront Sunday morning after locating a missing swimmer in the Kennebec River. Courtesy of the Bowdoinham Fire Department



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