FORT KENT, Maine — A 68-year-old Presque Isle man had to be transported two miles by rescue toboggan to the nearest road after a snowmobile collision Wednesday along the Carter Brook Snowmobile Trail in Fort Kent.
Eddie Boutot was thrown from his snowmobile and suffered leg injuries in a collision with another machine driven by a companion early Wednesday afternoon, according to Ed Endee, chief of the Fort Kent Volunteer Fire Department.
Boutot was taken to Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent, where an update on his condition was not available Thursday afternoon.
The initial call for assistance placed by Boutot’s companion indicated the two men were unsure where on the trail network they were, Endee said Thursday, making coordinating the rescue a challenge.
“We got the call at 1:22 p.m. that somebody was injured on the trail but they were not sure where they were,” Endee said. “All they knew is they were somewhere between Fort Kent and Eagle Lake.”
Based on that, crews initially staged at a road crossing in Violette Settlement in Fort Kent. Further information revealed the injured rider was near the Carter Brook Snowmobile Club’s clubhouse in a wooded area of Fort Kent, but the closest road crossing was actually on the Michaud Road off Route 11 in neighboring Wallagrass.
“We deployed the rescue toboggan and found them near the Carter Brook club house,” Endee said. “The EMTs who went in told us to relocate the ambulance off the Michaud Road while they were prepping [Boutot] for transport.”
The ambulance had to travel about 15 miles from Violette Settlement Road, down Route 161 and then Route 11 to get to the Michaud Road crossing.
The accident underscored two challenges facing rescue personnel in northern Maine.
“Once again we had to borrow a snowmobile to pull the rescue toboggan,” Endee said. “We have a work in progress to purchase our own.”
Until his department is able to acquire a suitable rescue snowmobile, rescuers must rely on borrowed equipment, he said.
In addition, Endee said it is a good idea for snowmobilers — especially those from out of town — to try and know where they are at all times in case help is needed.
“Observe landmarks and road crossings,” he said. “All of that can help describe your location in the event of an emergency.”
Assisting in the rescue was Gary Sibley of the Maine Warden Service.