January 4, 2013

Sonar spots Rangeley snowmobiles, but iceover, weather put off recovery

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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Maine Warden Service airboats drive out toward the open water on Rangeley Lake Thursday morning in search of three missing snowmobilers who are presumed dead.

Photo courtesy of Maine Warden Service

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A photograph taken Friday from a Maine Warden Service aircradt of the area on Rangeley Lake, where three snowmobilers were lost on Sunday and presumed drowned. The section of lake has frozen over, further delaying search and recovery efforts, according to the warden service.

Photo courtesy Maine Warden Service

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Family and friends have set up an account to raise money for John Spencer's 12-year-old daughter. Donations may be made at any Five County Credit Union branch or by mailing checks to Five County Credit Union, P.O. Box 598, Bath, ME 04530. Checks can be made out to Cassidy Marie Spencer or Five County Credit Union with Cassidy Marie Spencer written in the memo line.

The Warden Service Thursday stressed that snowmobilers and other sight-seers should stay off the ice in the area of the recovery effort, because the effort had made the ice there unstable.

Family and friends of the three men gathered Wednesday evening at Oxford Plains Speedway where all three men were popular figures among fellow racers and fans. Family friend Missy Morgan said the several hundred dollars donated during the vigil will be divided evenly among the three families.

Morgan said more than 300 people braved sub-zero temperatures and wind to remember the three men and pray for their families.

An account has been set up to raise money for Spencer’s 12-year-old daughter.

The accident was part of what probably was the worst snowmobile tragedy in state history. No state officials can recall when four snowmobile riders were killed in the same place at roughly the same time.

“It’s hard to believe everything took place in the same location,” McDonald said Wednesday. He called it “kind of mind-boggling.”

Dozens and sometimes hundreds of accidents and several deaths occur on Maine’s 14,000 miles of snowmobile trails each winter. Sixteen people were killed during the 2002-03 winter, the highest number of fatalities in a season since record keeping began in 1970.

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