Five people were injured Friday in two separate snowmobiling accidents, the Maine Warden Service said.

Four people were hurt in a crash involving several sleds on a remote trail system northwest of Millinocket that required a lengthy rescue. The accident occurred on Interconnecting Trail Systems 85 and 86 in T2R7 WELS, or Soldiertown Township, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Two snowmobiles traveling in opposite directions collided nearly head-on at about 11 a.m. Two others trailing behind one of the sleds involved in the initial accident went off the trail to avoid the crash and struck trees.

The initial crash involved a 15-year-old boy from Lancaster, Massachusetts, who was traveling north. He collided with Michael Byram, 46, from Hermon. The teenager broke an arm and may have a concussion. Byram had a broken collarbone and shoulder injuries, and exhibited signs of hypothermia, Cpl. John MacDonald of the warden service said in a statement.

The two riders who went off the trail to avoid the crash were a father and son, Robert Buzak, 49, and his 14-year-old son, both from Ayer, Massachusetts. Buzak received minor injuries. His son sustained a broken shoulder and possible back injuries.

Two other riders drove to find cellphone reception and called for help. Patten Ambulance and the warden service responded. Because of the remote location, it took nearly 90 minutes for rescue personnel and game wardens to reach the crash site. Patten Ambulance used its rescue sled to transport the injured riders 10 miles out of the woods. From there, an ambulance took them to Millinocket Hospital.

All riders involved were wearing helmets, and speed appears to have been a contributing factor in the crash, the warden service said.

In the other accident Friday, a Rhode Island man was injured in northern Franklin County when he lost control of his snowmobile and struck a rock. John Paquin, 57, from Kingstown was traveling in a group that started in the Rangeley area and was headed toward Stratton. Paquin was thrown from the snowmobile and sustained serious injuries to his hip and pelvis, MacDonald said.

Paquin operated the snowmobile to Route 16 with the assistance of friends and was taken to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington for evaluation.

Game wardens say inexperience likely contributed to the accident.


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