Maine Game Warden Matthew Tenan assists a 2-year-old-boy off a snowmobile Tuesday night during a rescue on Moosehead Lake in Greenville. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife photo

A couple and two children were rescued by trainees from the Maine Warden Service late Tuesday night after an intensifying snowstorm stranded them on Moosehead Lake in Greenville.

The four, who became separated as the storm grew more severe, were rescued by Passamaquoddy game warden trainees who had been training in the area, state officials said.

Investigators from the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife described a situation on the storm-swept lake that quickly went from bad to worse.

Officials said Ruby Goodmen, 31, of Greenville and Joseph Wentworth, 32, of Orland were ice fishing on Moosehead Lake with two children, ages 5 and 2, and their dog. When storm conditions began to worsen, the couple scrambled to get their kids to safety.

“One of the children was already wet, so it was decided that Goodmen would head home with the wet 5-year-old and the dog,” according to a Warden Service statement, “while Wentworth picked up their ice fishing gear, then would head back with his two-year-old, and catch up with them.

“Very quickly,” the statement continues, “the weather got worse. At nearly the same time, Goodmen’s snowmobile broke down before she could get home, and due to whiteout conditions from the heavy snow and high winds, Wentworth could not see well enough to drive to them, and the heavy snow had already covered existing snowmobile tracks. Both called 911 and said they were stranded and separated in worsening weather conditions out on the lake.”


The Maine Advanced Warden School, which includes Maine Game Warden and Passamaquoddy Warden trainees, were training in the area, according to the statement, and had ended their day earlier. A call came in at about 9:15 p.m., notifying them that the family was stranded on the west side of the lake.

The group went to work at once, attempting to determine the location of the lost family through their emergency calls.

“Fortunately,” according to the statement, “about half of the Warden Class was staying at a camp on the west side of the lake, and working with the Bangor Regional Communications Center, they were able to estimate the stranded couple’s locations through GPS coordinates transmitted through the 911 calls from the cellphones of the stranded couple. Goodmen was approximately 800 yards from shore, and Wentworth was 2 miles away from her.”

Game Wardens Joshua Polland and Chad Robertson, two of the Game Warden Cadres assigned to the school, split the wardens into two groups, then led each of the groups. They were able to locate and transport everyone to shore in about 45 minutes.

“At the time they were found, both children were wet and shivering and wrapped in blankets,” according to the release. “The group was transported back to the camp where everyone warmed up, and the camp owner provided a vehicle for the couple, children, and dog to get home safely.”

No serious injuries were reported during the ordeal.

Moosehead, at nearly 40 miles long and 10 miles wide, is the second-largest lake in New England, and the largest mountain lake in the eastern United States. Situated in the mostly undeveloped Longfellow Mountains, the lake is the source of the Kennebec River.

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