|Contact: Edie Smith, Spokesperson
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
284 State Street
41 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Telephone: work (207) 592-4348
Fax: (207) 287-6395
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January 31, 2009
Rumford Snowmobiler Goes Through Ice
Rumford -- A 21-year-old Rumford man is being treated for hypothermia after riding his snowmobile into open water on the Androscoggin River tonight (Saturday, Jan. 31).
Michael Thurston, 21, was snowmobiling with his friend, Benjamin Hodgkins of Roxbury, at approximately 7:15 p.m. when he drove into open water downstream from the Rumford Point Bridge where the Concord River flows into the Androscoggin River.
According to Warden Josh Smith, Mr. Hodgkins saw Mr. Thurston go into the Androscoggin, and was able to avoid going into the water himself. Mr. Hodgkins circled around the open water before riding to a home to call 9-1-1.
Mr. Thurston was able to prop himself up on the ice with his arms for about an hour until a local man and Rumford firefighters, who heard him yelling, were able to throw him a rope and pull him out of the water.
Mr. Thurston was transported by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.
The incident is under investigation. Mr. Thurston's snowmobile is in the Androscoggin River.
Assisting the Maine Warden Service were the Maine State Police, Rumford Police Department, Rumford Fire Department, Medcare ambulance, Oxford County Sheriff's Department, and LifeFlight.
The Maine Warden Service reminds snowmobilers who want to ride on waterways and ice to avoid areas where currents may be flowing, such as bridges, culverts, and where one tributary flows into another as ice may be minimal or has not formed at all.
If a person does go through the ice or into open water, they should avoid panicking. The individual should try to get their arms on the ice and prop themselves up, and then they should kick their legs to give themselves lift while trying to slide onto the ice.