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Game Warden Safe After Going Through Ice on Sebago Lake
Augusta, Maine - A veteran Game Warden with more than 20 years of experience patroling Maine's lakes in all seasons went through the ice on Sebago Lake this afternoon while traveling on what was an established ATV trail.
At approximately 3 p.m. today, Game Warden Gary Allen was crossing a pressure ridge about three-quarters of mile off Raymond Beach on Sebago Lake when the back wheels of his ATV began spinning and going through the ice. He was riding on what was an established ATV crossing being used by ice fisherman on the lake, and was en route to do routine checks of ice anglers using ATVs who were further out on the lake.
Warden Allen's ATV sunk in about 40 feet of water. He was wearing a recently issued department "float coat" which protected his body from the cold water and provided critical floatation. Warden Allen was able to get out of the water by kicking his feet and sliding onto the ice. The ice around the pressure ridge was approximately six inches thick.
"The ice on Sebago Lake is treacherous and these beautiful late winter days are making the ice conditions worse each day," Major Gregg Sanborn, Deputy Chief Game Warden, stated, "Maine's Game Wardens are equipped and trained for such events, however, anytime a person ends up in the water in February, Warden or not, it is a worse case scenario."
Nearby ice fishermen took Warden Allen to their shack so he could warm up. Warden Kris McCabe transported Warden Allen to the shore, where he was warmed up and evaluated by Windham Fire and Rescue personnel.
Major Sanborn said plans are being made to remove the ATV from the lake as soon as operationally possible. "All entities that are required to be notified of a vehicle submersion by state law have been advised," he said.
Sebago Lake is the site of a major ice fishing derby this weekend. Major Sanborn warns ice anglers to be extremely cautious on ice, and to check it before going onto it.
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