May 14, 2013

Rangeley Lake search comes up empty Tuesday, as lost snowmobiler's father waits

'For parents and loved ones, it is hard to just sit here and wait. Words can't even begin to describe it,' says John Spencer Sr.

By Rachel Ohm
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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John Spencer Sr., father of missing snowmobiler John Spencer Jr., speaks about the loss of his son and the ongoing effort to retrieve his body from Rangeley Lake on Tuesday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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Roger Palmer speaks Tuesday outside the Loony Bin Variety store in Rangeley, about the impact that the deaths of three snowmobilers in December have had on the town.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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"It's taken a toll on people here. Some people knew the snowmobilers and some didn't. It's just hard. In a small community it hits everyone," Clifford said.

Clifford, who also volunteers for the Rangeley Fire Department, said he wasn't working Dec. 31, but he remembers hearing the report of the accident on a scanner at his house.

"People feel bad. I don't think anyone in town will feel closure until the bodies are found," said Clifford's wife, Louise Clifford.

The search for the missing snowmobilers was postponed initially in early January because of frigid weather and high wind on the open section of the lake. The search tactics changed when the lake froze, but the search was delayed again because the ice was too thin to hold the people and equipment needed.

In February, the warden service located the three men's snowmobiles and planned to search for the bodies after the lake ice melted.

Searchers initially found helmets and gloves while searching for Dawn Newell, 45, of Yarmouth, who went into the lake the night of Dec. 30 while snowmobiling with her son.

She rode her snowmobile into open water hours before the others were reported missing. Her body was recovered Dec. 31.

Wardens said Newell and her son, 16, drove into open water. The boy managed to jump from his snowmobile onto solid ice before his machine sank.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368


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Additional Photos

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Cindy Smith organized a walk on the shores of Rangeley Lake last week to find any artifacts related to three missing snowmobilers, presumed drowned in the lake in December. "I did this to help prevent any trauma from someone finding evidence of the men," Smith said on Tuesday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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Maine Warden Service dive team leader Mike Joy, left, and Sgt. Scott Thrasher talk about the search for two snowmobilers's bodies in Rangeley Lake on Tuesday. Joy said the team's sonar search was hampered by choppy water conditions.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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Maine Warden Service boats and personnel drag sonar equipment from the center boat on Tuesday, while doing a grid search of the bottom of Rangeley Lake for the bodies of two snowmobile operators, who went through the ice last Decermber.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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