Police identify Thomaston man missing off St. George

By Stephen Betts | Jan 05, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Knox County Sheriff's Office is among the many agencies participating in the search for Paul Benner of Thomaston.

St. George — A Thomaston man has been identified as the clammer missing off St. George.

The search for Paul Benner, 33, is continuing Friday morning, Knox County Chief Deputy Tim Carroll said.

Carroll, other sheriff's officers, the Maine Marine Patrol and private individuals are at the former Great Eastern Mussel Farm dock off Long Cove Road, where the search is being conducted.

Benner was last seen at about 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4, when he went out on his 14-foot skiff to go clamming. His father reported him missing shortly before 11 p.m.

Benner's skiff was located at about midnight a few hundred yards from the causeway at Clark Island, which is located across the cove from the dock where Benner left. Other equipment from Benner's skiff including an anchor and cleam gear were found in the middle of Long Cove at low tide Friday morning, according to the Maine Marine Patrol which is heading up the search.

The Marine Patrol and fire departments from local towns including St. George, South Thomaston and Thomaston have searched the cove and shoreline and Coast Guard boats from the stations in Boothbay Harbor and Rockland have searched further offshore.

A Coast Guard helicopter also flew over the search area Friday morning.

The search began in the wake of a major winter storm that produced near-record high tides, high seas and heavy winds. The National Weather Service reported near shore seas of 10 to 15 feet. Seas in the waters between Long Cove Road and Clark Island were reported to be about 2 feet early Friday morning.

Marine Patrol is continuing to search on the water and shore. The Maine State Police/Marine Patrol dive team has been called in to participate in the search.

Paul Benner of Thomaston left to go clamming from the former Great Eastern Mussel Farm dock off Long Cove Road in St. George. Vessels continued searching the cove for the missing man. (Photo by: Stephen Betts)
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