SINCLAIR, Maine — The Maine Warden Service was busy over the weekend with two separate snowmobile incidents in Aroostook County.
The first resulted in two Brewer men being charged with operating a snowmobile under the influence and in the second, an overnight search for a missing snowmobiler resulted in him being found alive.
Wardens were called to the scene of an accident on Sunday, in which Caleb Fernald, 24, and Jake Deschaine, 25, both of Brewer, were operating snowmobiles when they entered open water in Sinclair, according to Cpl. John Macdonald of the Warden Service.
Macdonald said in a written statement issued Monday that the open water was the thoroughfare between Long Lake and Mud Lake and is typically open throughout the winter. The depth of the water where the snowmobiles entered was approximately 3-5 feet deep. Both snowmobile operators were able to crawl onto the ice and walk to a nearby residence, where they received help.
Wardens were within five minutes’ travel from the incident and were on scene shortly after the call. Macdonald said that both men were unfamiliar with the geography of Long Lake. Both snowmobiles were still in the water early Monday and arrangements were being made by the owners to have them removed. Both men were charged with operating a snowmobile under the influence.
Macdonald said late Monday afternoon that the blood alcohol content of the two snowmobilers was not available.
In the second incident, friends of Paul Lessard, 65, of Milford, Mass., called wardens at about 11 p.m. Sunday to report him missing, according to Macdonald.
Lessard had last been seen Sunday morning at approximately 9 a.m. and had planned to ride his 2008 Arctic Cat snowmobile from St. Francis to Portage Lake via ITS 85. Lessard was supposed to return for dinner at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Several wardens responded to the call and started searching local trails by snowmobile. Weather conditions in Fort Kent overnight were clear with temperatures near 20 degrees below zero, according to Macdonald.
At approximately 6:30 a.m. Monday, wardens located Lessard on local club trail 92A, approximately 4.3 miles south of Route 161 in St John Plantation. Lessard told the wardens that he became stuck at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday and remained with his snowmobile for nineteen hours until he was located by the search party.
Lessard was cold but did not need medical attention. Wardens helped Lessard back onto the trail and followed him back to a residence in St. Francis, Macdonald said Monday.