Personnel from the Maine Warden Service dealt with a number of emergencies on Maine waterways over the weekend, but none that resulted in serious injury, agency spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte said Sunday evening.
“We’ve responded to a number of incidents on lakes throughout Maine,” she said. In every case, “the people have gotten out of the water.”
Even though residents are being warned about the thin ice on Maine lakes, especially the deep-water ones that are covered with a thick layer of insulating snow, people continue to break through, she said.
“The ice is thin right now, and people may think it’s safe,” but sometimes it’s not, Turcotte said.
Some of the ice breaks have occurred with repeated use, she said.
“What we’ve noticed this weekend is people have thought it was safe because they’ve been on it and have gone back” and have broken through, Turcotte said.
“People need to wait for a good cold spell that lasts for a significant period of time,” she said. “Ice conditions are not ideal for a number of winter activities, so people need to use caution.”
Snowmobiler Richard “Shaw” Jackson, 18, an Erskine Academy junior who has been missing since Jan. 1, may have gone through the ice of China Lake. He filled the gas tank and was heading home and was never seen again. More than a dozen wardens, other law enforcement personnel and volunteers from the community and area snowmobile clubs have searched for the lost teen to no avail.
Precaution is the key to preventing injury, Turcotte said. If people do decide to head out onto the ice, they should check the ice thickness often, she said.
“They need to check it as they go along,” Turcotte said. “People need to use extreme caution.”