Group of snowmobilers rescued overnight on Sebec Lake
Four snowmobilers encountered thin ice on Sebec Lake early Saturday morning, Feb. 9. Those involved were Timothy Carignan, 30, from Berwick, Nicholas Smith, 31, from Berwick, Nathan Lynch, 32, from North Berwick, and James Taylor, 39, from Dover, New Hampshire.
Shortly after midnight the four men encountered thin ice on the lake, Carignan and Smith escaped going in but Lynch and Taylor became completely submerged along with their snowmobiles. Both men managed to get out of the water and onto the ice. Taylor drove one of the two remaining snowmobiles to an unoccupied camp to find warmth.
The three remaining men were stranded on thin ice near portions of open water; Carignan called 911. At approximately 1:20 a.m. the Sebec Fire Department, Mayo Ambulance, and Game Warden Jeremy Kemp responded. Kemp secured a canoe from a camp owner and along with Sebec firefighter Jason Horne, ventured out onto the ice with the safety of the canoe. The canoe was brought close enough to the three men for them to get in. The canoe became overloaded and Carignan had to get out of the canoe and partially broke through the ice. He managed to hold onto the canoe as rescuers pulled it across the ice to safety.
The three men were brought inside a nearby camp to warm up. Kemp then went searching for Taylor. He was found in an unheated nearby camp at 2:20 a.m., hypothermic and unable to walk. Kemp summoned the help of several firefighters and EMS members to carry Taylor through two feet of snow to the closest plowed driveway. Taylor was transported to Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft and treated for hypothermia. Had Taylor not been located, game wardens feel it is likely he would have died from hypothermia.
Game wardens have determined that the four men were unfamiliar with the lake. Lynch and Taylor’s snowmobiles remain on the lake bottom in about 12 feet of water. Smith’s machine remains on the ice as it was too dangerous to remove it overnight. This incident remains under investigation and game wardens planned to be on the scene Saturday.