Sunday, May 19, 2013
It is unclear whether the Maine Warden Service will charge the family of lost skier Nicholas Joy for costs associated with the two-day search effort that ended when he was found on Sugarloaf Mountain this week.
Missing skier Nicholas Joy is escorted to an ambulance by Peter Boucher of Northstar Ambulance when he emerged from the woods last Tuesday. Snowmobiler Joseph Paul, far right, found him walking on a trail near Sugarloaf Mountain.
Staff photo by David Leaming
Cpl. John MacDonald, spokesman for the warden service, said Thursday afternoon he didn't know whether Joy would be billed for the rescue efforts.
He released a statement that included a few additional details of the incident, including information from an interview with Joy. The statement, however, did not address whether Joy had left the ski area accidentally or intentionally.
Earlier Thursday, MacDonald said it seemed as if Joy left Sugarloaf unintentionally.
"I don't think the facts are taking us away from his legitimately being lost," he said.
Sugarloaf has no plans to charge Joy for the costs the company incurred during the search, said Ethan Austin, a company spokesman.
"He says he didn't intend to go out of bounds, and we'll take him at his word," Austin said. "We're just happy that he made it back to his family OK."
On Tuesday, Lt. Kevin Adam of the warden service said it was unlikely Joy would be charged because he didn't seem to have met the threshold, set by state law, of having behaved recklessly or negligently.
Joy, a 17-year-old skier from Medford, Mass., has made no public statements about whether he skied outside the resort's boundary intentionally or whether he simply got lost.
MacDonald said Joy "skied quite some time before realizing he was too far to get back and had lost his way."
MacDonald also said that he thought Joy had abandoned his skis and poles before building a shelter in the snow.
"It's very steep terrain, and it was probably cumbersome for him to keep them," MacDonald said.
MacDonald said that the final tally for the search was likely to be closer to $15,000 than the initial $10,000 estimate, once staff overtime, fuel and equipment costs were factored in.
The warden service had about 25 to 30 people involved in the rescue. The rest of the nearly 100 searchers consisted of volunteers and members of various other law enforcement agencies.
MacDonald said the warden service routinely compiles the costs of each search it conducts and that other agencies will act independently in deciding whether to compile or attempt to assess Joy for their costs.
Searchers included members of the U.S. Forest Service, Border Patrol, Carrabassett Valley Fire Department, Carrabassett Valley Academy and several search-and rescue organizations.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287