January 7, 2013

Warden service unsure when Rangeley Lake snowmobiler search will resume

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The Maine Warden Service isn't sure when the search for three missing snowmobilers in Rangeley Lake will continue.

click image to enlarge

Two Maine Warden Service air boats head out on the ice on Rangeley Lake in Rangeley last week, to the open-water location where four snowmobiles went through the ice on Dec. 30. One body has been recovered and three other riders are presumed drowned. Harsh weather and poor ice conditions have impeded recovery efforts.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Wardens are monitoring the lake for open water or ice thick enough to walk on before resuming the search for the men, who have been missing for more than week and are presumed dead, said Cpl. John MacDonald of the Warden Service, in an email Monday.

The search was called off Thursday because of cold and wind. On Friday, the Warden Service reiterated that conditions would be evaluated this week and a decision would be made on when the search would continue.

The Warden Service said Friday night that two, possibily three, snowmobiles were located by sonar in the lake near the search site.

The wardens will continue searching with sonar equipment if a large enough hole opens in the ice near where the wardens want to search, MacDonald said Monday.

MacDonald said the wardens also are devising an alternative plan with the dive team or other equipment. For those plans, they will need to wait for ice thick enough to walk on, he said.

The search fo Glenn Henderson, 43, of Sabattus, his cousin Kenneth Henderson, 40, of China, and friend John Spencer, 41, of Litchfield, began after they were reported missing early Dec. 31.

Searchers found helmets and gloves while searching for Dawn Newell, 45, of Yarmouth, who went into the lake the night of Dec. 30 while snowmobiling with her son. Newell's body was recovered a week ago Monday.

Wardens said Newell and her son, 16, drove into open water. The boy managed to jump from his snowmobile onto solid ice before his machine sank. He called 911 for help.

Kaitlin Schroeder -- 861-9252

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