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January 6, 2011
Thin Ice Conditions Continue Statewide; 3 Anglers Go Through Ice in Northern Maine
Augusta, Maine - Three ice fishermen from central Maine safely made it out of Long Lake in northern Maine today after falling through thin ice on an ATV and tote sled en route to a fishing destination.
The Maine Warden Service is reminding anglers, snowmobilers and others who like to recreate on Maine’s lakes and ponds in the winter that ice conditions on many waterways throughout the state right now may not be safe to hold themselves or heavy equipment and vehicles.
Game wardens are suggesting that people test the thickness of the ice often when going onto a lake or pond, and to walk out first while testing it before bringing vehicles and gear along with them. If the ice is not thick enough to hold, turn around and go back to shore or a safe location.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of checking ice conditions right now,” said Game Warden Adrian Marquis, who responded to the scene with Game Warden Gary Sibley. “People really need to take the time to drill test holes as often as they can.”
At approximately 8 a.m. today, three ice fishermen left a camp off of Route 162 in Sinclair to head across Long Lake (northern Maine) on an ATV that was pulling a tote sled. The ATV was being driven by Travis Austin, 39, of Gardiner. Jeff Nicknair, 30, of Augusta was a passenger on the ATV and Hershel Albert, 67, of Gardiner was on the tote sled.
The men checked the ice about half-way across the lake and it was 7.5 inches thick, and then continued to cross before going through ice about 1.5 inches thick approximately 100 feet from shore, according to Game Warden Adrian Marquis.
Long Lake in northern Maine currently has a couple of miles of open water.
The men jumped off the ATV but broke through the ice. All got out safely. Aaron Bailey, 34, of Gardiner, who was traveling alongside the men on a snowmobile, brought the men to shore. None needed medical attention.
The incident occurred about 50 feet from where a snowmobile went through 4-inch thick ice on Saturday.
Besides the ATV and tote sled, two portable ice shacks, an ice auger, three ice fishing traps, two pack baskets and a cooler went into the water.
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