Search under way at Graham Lake for missing sledder

Posted Jan. 20, 2012, at 9:46 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 20, 2012, at 10:24 p.m.
Matthew Divello
Matthew Divello

MARIAVILLE, Maine — State game wardens, volunteer firefighters from Mariaville and Waltham and a LifeFlight helicopter crew converged at Graham Lake early Friday evening to search for a missing snowmobiler.

Matthew Divello, 49, of Mariaville was reported overdue late Friday afternoon by his wife, Sgt. Ralph Hosford of the Maine Warden Service said Friday night. Divello was riding a black 2003 Arctic Cat snowmobile and wearing a black helmet, black winter jacket and black snowmobile pants.

Hosford said Divello did not have a cellphone with him when he left his home on Morrison Farm Road.

Hosford said Divello’s wife initially called members of the Mariaville Volunteer Fire Department because Divello is a member and they began searching the lakeside about 5 p.m. Wardens were on the scene within an hour.

Because ice conditions were unsafe, a LifeFlight helicopter equipped with a spotlight was brought to the lake to search from above.

Hosford said windy conditions throughout the evening were hampering the search because it caused snow to fill in most of the tracks Divello left behind. Wardens and volunteers were searching near snowmobile access points to the lake but were being cautious about going onto the lake itself, he said.

Hosford said that searchers also planned to look for him on several small islands on the lake.

The sergeant said Graham Lake was not considered a prime lake for snowmobiling.

“It’s a man-made lake with a lot of brook influence and stream influence and a lot of snags on the surface,” he said.

Wardens, the helicopter crew and others looked for the missing sledder until late Friday night.

The search will resume early Saturday morning and will include more aircraft as well as airboats, a hovercraft and snowmobiles. Anyone who has seen a snowmobiler in the Mariaville or Waltham areas or who may have information about Divello’s whereabouts is urged to call Maine State Police in Orono at 866-2121.

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