RANGELEY, Maine — Ice conditions continue to thwart efforts to recover the bodies of three missing snowmobilers presumed drowned in Rangeley Lake, according to the Maine Warden Service.
The three men, Kenneth Henderson, 40, of China; Glenn Henderson, 43, of Sabattus; and John Spencer, 41, of Litchfield, have been missing since Dec. 31, when their snowmobiles plunged into the lake.
Cpl. John MacDonald said Tuesday that while wardens are planning to use an Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle, or UROV, to search for the three men, ice conditions aren’t safe enough to perform such an operation.
“In order to deploy the UROV, ice conditions must be thick enough to support operations from on top of the ice,” said MacDonald. “The current ice conditions do not allow UROV work to be performed.”
MacDonald added it could be as late as February before ice conditions allow use of the UROV.
“When and if ice conditions become safe, a large hole will need to be cut in the ice, warming tents will need to be erected on the ice and other pieces of equipment will need to be staged on the ice for operational purposes and safety,” explained MacDonald.
MacDonald did not say exactly when the UROV will be put into the water. Divers will not be permitted to enter the lake until identifiable targets are found by the equipment, he added.
The men’s helmets were found in an area where game wardens recovered the body of Dawn Newell of Yarmouth on New Year’s Eve, according to MacDonald.
Poor weather conditions, including high winds and low temperatures, have hindered game wardens in their recovery efforts.