GREENVILLE, Maine — A New Hampshire snowmobiler who was the subject of a search by the Maine Warden Service on Tuesday was located later that day.
Kevin O’Neal, 44, of Seabrook, N.H., last was seen between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday at Pittston Farm but was not reported missing until Tuesday, according to Deborah Turcotte, spokesperson for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
O’Neal told friends he would be snowmobiling from Pittston Farm through Kokadjo to Millinocket to meet friends there, Turcotte said Tuesday. He left his vehicle and trailer at Paula Vigue’s house in Brownville and told her he would be back on Sunday, she said.
Turcotte said more than 10 game wardens spent Tuesday checking snowmobile trails in the Moosehead Lake region and the Millinocket area. Many of the trails had not been broken open since the earlier snowstorm this week. In some areas, the snow was four to five feet deep, she said.
It was while wardens were searching the region for O’Neal that he returned to Brownville. He reportedly told wardens Tuesday he had stopped and stayed with friends in the Kokadjo area the last two days and was unaware of the search, Turcotte said.
“With the major snowstorm over the weekend, people were concerned — and rightfully so — that Mr. O’Neal may have fallen victim to the elements,” Turcotte said. “This incident clearly illustrates the need for people to tell a friend where they are going, when they will be back, and if the plans change, to inform the friend of their location and the new arrival time.”
The search for O’Neal cost the warden service about $4,000, which included an airplane and its pilot, equipment, gas and mileage, and personnel hours, according to Lt. Pat Dorian.