Search continues for missing Hancock County snowmobiler

Posted Jan. 21, 2012, at 10:15 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 21, 2012, at 3:05 p.m.
A Maine Warden Service airboat hauls divers through light snow to Eagle Island on Graham Lake on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012 during a search of a snowmobiler who has been missing since Friday afternoon. A low-altitude search flight over the reservoir spotted an area of broken ice near the small island, which is located about 5 miles north of the dam used to create Graham Lake.
Tom Walsh | BDN
A Maine Warden Service airboat hauls divers through light snow to Eagle Island on Graham Lake on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012 during a search of a snowmobiler who has been missing since Friday afternoon. A low-altitude search flight over the reservoir spotted an area of broken ice near the small island, which is located about 5 miles north of the dam used to create Graham Lake.
Matthew Divello
Matthew Divello

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MARIAVILLE, Maine — The search for a missing snowmobiler that began Friday afternoon resumed at first light Saturday as an estimated 50 state game wardens, volunteer firefighters from Mariaville and Waltham, and others continued searching Hancock County’s Graham Lake in hopes of finding Matthew Divello, 49, of Mariaville.

Divello was reported overdue late Friday afternoon by his wife, who notified the Mariaville Volunteer Fire Department that he was riding a black 2003 Arctic Cat snowmobile and wearing a black helmet, black winter jacket and black snowmobile pants. The search began about 5 p.m., and state game wardens joined the search about an hour later.

Because ice conditions were unsafe, a LifeFlight helicopter equipped with a spotlight was brought to the lake to search from above. On Saturday the Maine Forest Service dispatched a helicopter from its Old Town headquarters, allowing Ranger Pilot Chris Blackie and Ranger Sgt. Courtney Hammon to fly low-level searches of the reservoir.

Around 1:15 p.m. Saturday, four divers from the Maine Warden Service were preparing to go into the water. A low-altitude search flight over the reservoir spotted an area of broken ice near an island known locally as Eagle Island, which is located about five miles north of the dam used to create Graham Lake.

Winds have hampered the search, with blowing snow filling any tracks that Divello’s snowmobile may have created. Wardens and volunteers searched near snowmobile access points to the lake but were being cautious Friday night about going onto the lake itself.

Maine Warden Service Sgt. Ralph Hosford said Friday evening that searchers also planned to look for Divello on several small islands on the lake. He said man-made Graham Lake is not considered a prime lake for snowmobiling due to brook and stream influences and surface snags.

The search under way Saturday morning involves airboats, a hovercraft and snowmobiles.

“We’re staging our dive team, in case we find anything in the water,” Maine Warden Service Corp. John MacDonald said.

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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