February 25, 2013

Search for Maine snowmobilers to resume Wednesday

By KAITLIN SCHROEDER Morning Sentinel

RANGELEY – The Maine Warden Service will resume the search Wednesday for three snowmobilers who are believed to have died in Rangeley Lake in late December.

click image to enlarge

In this file photo provided by the Maine Warden Service, wardens begin recovery operations for the three missing snowmobilers presumed to be in Rangeley Lake, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, in Rangeley, Maine. The search for the three men will continue Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Maine Warden Service)

The warden service will use a remote-controlled vehicle and divers will be on standby in case any of the men's bodies are discovered, Cpl. John MacDonald said in a news release Monday.

Ken Henderson, 40, of China, his cousin Glenn Henderson, 43, of Sabattus and their friend John Spencer, 41, of Litchfield were reported missing early on Dec. 31.

Searchers retrieved the body of another snowmobiler, Dawn Newell, 45, of Yarmouth, shortly after she rode her snowmobile into open water -- hours before the others were reported missing.

The search was suspended in early January because of frigid temperatures and high winds 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 to use the remotely operated underwater vehicle.

MacDonald said at the time that wardens would resume the search with the underwater vehicle, a tethered unit controlled from the surface with 500 feet of cable.

He said the vehicle has a grabber arm, two cameras and two LED lights, and obstacle avoidance sonar.

Searchers found helmets and gloves while searching for Newell, who went into the lake on the night of Dec. 30 while snowmobiling with her son. Her body was recovered Dec. 31.

Wardens said Newell and her son, 16, drove into open water. The boy jumped from his snowmobile onto solid ice before his machine sank. He called 911 for help.

The accident was part of what likely was the worst snowmobile tragedy in state history, officials have said.

 

Kaitlin Schroeder can be contacted at 861-9252 or at:

kschroeder@mainetoday.com

 

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