Lost Jonesport man found after 3 hours

Posted March 05, 2009, at 11:33 p.m.

JONESPORT, Maine — A 76-year-old Jonesport man who suffers from dementia was found safe Thursday after getting lost in the woods near his home, according to the Maine Warden Service.

Robert Ouellette, 76, of Jonesport was driving a tractor on his woodlot at about 4 p.m. when the vehicle stalled and got stuck in the snow, Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the service, said in a press release issued late Thursday night.

Ouellette left the truck to head back home, but instead walked in the wrong direction and headed farther into the woods, she said. Aggravating the situation, he was not dressed for the freezing temperatures since he had been sitting in the enclosed, heated tractor.

When Ouellette did not arrive home by 5:30 p.m., his family began looking for him. Unsuccessful in locating him, they notified the Maine Warden Service at about 7 p.m., Turcotte said.

Four game wardens and four deputies from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department as well as members of the Jonesport Fire Department helped search for Ouellette.

Because of the packed, crusty surface of the snow in the area, Ouellette was able to walk on top of it and did not leave any tracks for searchers to follow, according to Game Warden Wade Carter.

The elderly man came upon a house with a light on inside, and a woman there called authorities to say Ouellette was fine at about 8:30 p.m., according to Turcotte. Carter said Ouellette did suffer extremely cold feet.

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