Police & Fire

Snowmobilers rescued after falling through ice in Allagash Wilderness Waterway

By Christopher Bouchard, St. John Valley Times Staff
T9 R12 WELS – Two snowmobilers were rescued Saturday, Feb. 17 after falling through the ice on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

The two, Alan Caron, 53, of Portland and Richard Cote, 64, of Washburn, were part of a group of six snowmobilers. The group also included Maine Forest Ranger Justin Carney, who helped with the rescue. 

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a 92.5-mile-long area that includes much of the Allagash River and connected lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams between Aroostook and Piscataquis counties.

The incident happened after Caron’s snowmobile stopped working between Big Eagle Lake and Chamberlain Lake. Cote was towing Caron and his snowmobile toward Churchill Lake, where the rest of their group was parked, when they broke through thin ice just after crossing John’s Bridge. 

Cote quickly got out of the water, but Caron could not immediately escape. Carney made an initial attempt to get him out but was unsuccessful, so he rode north to Churchill Dam and obtained gear from the Allagash Wilderness Waterway staff.

When Carney returned, he used a rope and a rescue sled to get Caron out of the water. In total, Caron spent roughly 45 minutes treading water.

A Maine Forest Service helicopter quickly arrived on the scene. Caron was flown to Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital while Game Warden Mark Hutcheson performed life-saving efforts on him.

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