GREENVILLE, Maine — A local man looking to get one last snowmobile run on Moosehead Lake broke through the ice Thursday evening.
Isiah Gray, 23, of Greenville Junction said he was making a turn near the Black Frog Inn and Restaurant at 7 p.m. Thursday when the ice gave way.
“There just wasn’t enough ice and it just started to go through. It was too late to get any leverage. It went straight down,” said Gray on Friday.
Gray said he swam for about 150 yards trying to get to land.
“Half was water and half was ice that kept breaking. The guys from the Black Frog helped me at the dock. They sent me a log and got me out,” said Gray. “I was in the there for 2½ minutes and my muscles started locking up [in the freezing water].”
“He was lucky he was right near the shore and able to get out unscathed and unharmed,” said Game Warden Paul Mason.
“It’s good it happened where it happened. If it happened in the middle of the lake by myself, it wouldn’t have been that great,” said Gray.
Gray’s Ski-Doo mxz 600 was recovered from 25 feet of water on Friday afternoon. Gray said the engine will need to be rebuilt, but the rest of it is fine.
“I’m thankful for the guys at the Frog and everyone who helped get it out of the water by the Katahdin [touring boat],” said Gray.
Mason warned that the warm week has severely weakened ice all around the state.
“With the last two days of the warm weather we’ve had, [the ice is] not well at all,” he said. “A lot of the little ponds have loosened up around the edges. As far as Moosehead [Lake] goes, all the [known] trouble spots have started to open up. The ice has all turned black. It won’t be long before ice-out.”
Riders should do their homework before trying to get one last ride with a snowmobile this weekend, he said.
“I would caution anyone going out on any ice right now,” said Mason. “It’s really treacherous right now. I would caution against it unless you know it’s a well iced-up area.”