Phone worker helps rescue Ellsworth sledder

Posted Jan. 11, 2010, at 8:24 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:48 a.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A quick response from a telephone worker Monday morning helped to rescue a snowmobiler who had been knocked off his machine in a swampy area off Route 1A.

Richard Bunker, 65, of Ellsworth, had ridden his snowmobile about 1,000 feet into the woods before noon Monday when he was knocked off his machine by a branch, Ellsworth police Sgt. Kelvin Mote said. Bunker landed in a swampy area, and in an effort to get out of the water, he lost both of his boots.

Meanwhile, Dana Shaw, a splicer service technician with FairPoint Communications, was parked in a FairPoint truck just outside the Bunker residence on Route 1A directly across from Atlantic Landscape. He was part of a crew preparing to do some work on the lines along that road.

Shaw said that at about 11:30 a.m. he saw Bunker’s wife in the driveway, yelling to him.

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“I thought she was yelling at me to get out of her driveway,” Shaw said.

So he moved the truck across the road.

“She was still yelling, so I figured there was something wrong,” he said.

When he learned of the problem, he rushed into the woods to see whether he could help Bunker.

“I just followed the trail,” he said. “I found him. He was wet to the waist, and his boots were torn right off his feet. I took my socks off and put them on his feet and got my boots back on.”

A young man also arrived on the scene, Shaw said, and between the two of them they were able to get Bunker to a small trailer where they worked to try to keep him warm.

By that time, Sgt. Mote had arrived and was followed by other rescue personnel, including Ellsworth firefighters, the Maine Warden Service and County Ambulance.

Bunker was carried to the ambulance, which took him to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth as a precaution.

Bunker was not injured in the accident, Mote said.

rhewitt@bangordailynews.net

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