Boating accident claims life of Auburn man

by | Sep 18, 2020

Divers, assisted by AFRD K-9, Riggs, recovered the body of 56 year old Auburn resident Doug Flink at about 7:30am Friday morning. Mr. Flink was driving the boat when he apparently fell into

K-9 Riggs (right) and handler Matt Ethier (left) search Dark Brook reservoir on Friday, September 21. [Photo courtesy Auburn Fire Rescue Department]

the water. Officials were not certain how Flink ended up in the reservoir or what led to his drowning.

Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Johnson said the search had begun Thursday evening around 6:30pm after several 911 calls reported a boat circling on the 243 acre body of water with nobody onboard.

The search had to be suspended Thursday evening due to darkness and dangerous conditions in the weedy, murky water. The search resumed at about 7:30am Friday. AFRD K-9 Riggs was able to get a hit about an hour into the search, and divers recovered the body about 9am.

Riggs is a specially trained canine who can search for human remains in a variety of environments, including water.

The boater, who Auburn police identified as Doug Flink Sr., 56, of Auburn, fell into the water on Thursday night.

Mr. Doug Flink [Courtesy photo]

Flink’s family thanked the “Auburn Fire Rescue Department, Auburn Police Department,  K-9 Riggs and his handler Matt Ethier, Mass State Police, Mass Environmental Police, Mass District 7 Regional Dive and Communication Teams and Worcester Fire Department and their Dive Team for the support and efforts made during our family’s time of need.”

Mr. Flink was a well-known and well-liked figure in Auburn, particularly in the youth and school sports. He will certainly be missed by the community. Calling hours are to be held on Wednesday, September 23 from 4pm to 7pm at Britton Wallace Funeral Home, 91 Central St. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, that donations might be made to the Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr Charitable Fund at

Mr. Flink’s full obituary can be read here.