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January 14, 2013
Rangeley Lake Update
Augusta, Maine - Maine Game Wardens have been monitoring ice conditions on Rangeley Lake all week. On the night of December 30, 2012, five snowmobilers went into open water on Rangeley Lake. Dawn Newell, age 45, from Yarmouth and her 16-year-old son from Durham were travelling on separate snowmobiles when the mother’s machine drove into open water. Her son was following her and also started to break through the ice. He was able to jump to solid ice and get to shore and call 911. Game Wardens recovered the body of Dawn Newell from Rangeley Lake on Monday, December 31.
While search efforts were underway on Rangeley Lake for Dawn Newell, several pieces of evidence to include helmets and gloves were recovered indicating the three missing subjects may have gone into Rangeley Lake as well. Kenneth Henderson age 40 from China, Glenn Henderson age 43 from Sabattus, and John Spencer age 41 from Litchfield appear to have also driven their snowmobiles into the open water. Maine Game Wardens started a search for the missing men but were hampered by severe cold and wind which prevented the use of a SONAR unit. The SONAR equipment must be towed by a motorboat. On January 3, game wardens were able to search for several hours using the SONAR in open water before weather and equipment issues again prevented search efforts. From that search, game wardens are confident they have found all three snowmobiles in approximately 70 feet of water.
Game Wardens were hopeful that warm weather predicted this week would create open water again in the area the snowmobiles are located. It appears the water will not open back up due to recent cold temperatures. Plans are now underway to use an Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (UROV) the Maine Warden Service received in November of 2012. Game Wardens are making plans to use the UROV to search areas near the snowmobile locations. The UROV is another resource used to aid searchers in determining the location of the three missing men. Due to water depth, the lake-bottom profile, and size of the search area, SONAR is going to produce the best probability of detection when compared to other search methods. Divers will not be used until credible, identifiable targets are identified. An assessment will take place as to the best method for retrieval. SONAR searching will have to resume after ice out. Maine Warden Service has kept in contact with the families of the missing men and will continue to do so.
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