GREENVILLE, Maine — The Maine Warden Service has issued another stern warning for people to be vigilant when venturing onto bodies of water as they followed up on reports Thursday that someone was observed struggling in the water near the East Outlet of Moosehead Lake.
Three people on shore reported to wardens Thursday that they had observed a person struggling in the water near Wilsons campground, which prompted a search by game wardens and other law enforcement officers in the region.
Wardens used an airboat to search the water, and Warden Pilot Charlie Later searched from the air after the 2 p.m. report, but they did not see any signs of a person in the water, Deborah Turcotte, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokeswoman, said Thursday evening.
Turcotte said while there have been no reports of a missing person, wardens do plan to bring in a dive team today to resume their search of the area where the person reportedly was spotted in the water.
The East Outlet region has been a problem area for snowmobilers for many years. Several snowmobilers have gone into the water at that spot, and the most recent involved a Pennsylvania couple whose bodies were recovered in 2009. Some were fortunate enough to have been rescued by personnel at Wilsons and by wardens, while others have not.
So far this winter, there has been a fatality on Damariscotta Lake and a missing snowmobiler on China Lake, Turcotte said. There also have been snowmobiles and a couple of trucks that have gone through the ice this winter, she said.
“The conditions are continually changing on all bodies of water throughout Maine,” Turcotte warned. She said temperatures have fluctuated between extreme cold and above freezing, causing ice to become unsafe in some areas.
In addition, a number of dams are starting to release water, and that is causing ice to break up and become treacherous at outlets and inlets, she said.
“We are continually telling people to be extremely vigilant and check the ice before they venture onto it,” Turcotte said.
During the East Outlet search, wardens were assisted by the Maine Forest Service, Greenville police, and the Charles A. Dean Ambulance Service.