Lowell Officer Drowns In Merrimack River In Tyngsboro

TYNGSBORO (CBS) – A Lowell police officer drowned after diving off of a pleasure boat and into the Merrimack River in Tyngsboro on Saturday night.

The victim was identified as 30-year-old Charles Panek, who had been a member of the Lowell police force since 2006. He was also an honorably discharged Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Police said Panek was boating with his brother and friend when he told them he was going to jump into the river. He also told his brother and friend to later come back and get him, but Panek never resurfaced.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith reports.

Fire department divers began their search of the waters along with a state police helicopter just before 9 p.m. Saturday. About three hours later, Panek’s body was found in about 14 feet of water about 300 feet offshore.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.

Panek was pronounced dead at the scene.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Lowell police officer, Charles S. Panek. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies go out to the family of Officer Panek,” said Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee.

Panek earned the Medal of Valor from the Lowell Police Departent.  He had previously served in Iraq and was scheduled to head to Afghanistan soon.

Tyngsboro and state police are investigating.


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