Police & Fire

Three snowmobiles plunge into the water and two crash in separate incidents on Moosehead

By Julie Harris, Bangor Daily News Staff

There were two snowmobile crashes and three sleds through the ice or into the open water recently on Moosehead Lake, according to the Rockwood Fire Department.

Two people were injured in separate crashes. One man hit a pressure ridge Feb. 10 in Tomhegan and crashed his snowmobile. He had head injuries, but a nurse in his group took him to CA Dean for the stitches he needed, Rockwood Fire Chief Del Hume said on Feb. 15.

Hume did not have information on the man’s identity.

The other injury happened several days ago when a snowmobiler became disoriented at night and crashed his sled into the retaining wall at Rockwood cabins near Moose River. That driver, whose name was not available, shattered his hip, Hume said.

It is quite common for people who are snowmobiling at night to get disoriented on Maine’s largest lake, Hume said. There is generally from 18 to 20 inches on Moosehead south of Rockwood right now, but north to Northeast Carry freezes last and has thin ice and open places, he said.

“If people stay on the marked trail, they are OK. But if they leave it, they get pulled to the thin areas or the open water at the mouth of the river because of lights on shore,” he said.

A person dropped his snowmobile in the open water at the mouth of the Moose River sometime Sunday night, Feb. 11. The person, whose name was not available, got out without injury, and called the fire department the next day about getting his sled out of the water, Hume said.

The most recent incident was on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 14 when two snowmobiles went through thin ice at Hardscrabble Point near Mt. Kineo. The water was less than waist deep, so both got out safely. 

That area is always thin or open, no matter the weather, Hume said.

Usually the snowmobile clubs mark the trail across the lake to keep snowmobilers on the right path, but they have not done so this year because of the inconsistency of the ice thickness, he said.

Even all of this snowmobile activity isn’t really much, he said. The last two years, including this one, have seen fewer snowmobilers in the area because of a lack of snow. The year before that, logging operations kept popular trails closed.

This year, the Greenville groomers have shut operations because the trails are down to dirt, although the Island Pond area is still OK.

“The sleds are all going to northern Maine where the snow is,” Hume said.

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