This week, Maine game wardens continued with recovery efforts for three snowmobilers missing since December 30, 2012. Kenneth Henderson age 40 from China, Glen Henderson age 43 from Sabattus, and John Spencer age 41 from Litchfield are presumed to be in the lake.
On Thursday, January 3 2013, wardens used side-scan sonar towed behind a watercraft and gathered images that indicated two and possibly a third snowmobile. On the night of January 3, ice formed over the open water and prevented further sonar use. Earlier this week on Monday the 25th, wardens used the sonar image coordinates and located two of the three snowmobiles using the Maine Warden Service Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (UROV). Yesterday afternoon, a third snowmobile was located with the UROV. All three machines are confirmed as those driven by the three missing men.
The UROV is controlled remotely via a 500-foot cable. It has a lake-bottom search area effectiveness of approximately 400 feet in radius. When the men initially went into the water on December 30, the open water stretched nearly one mile long and one-quarter mile wide. Utilizing the UROV to search for the men without specific points identified by sonar will not be possible due to the size of the search area. Water depth ranges between 90 and 130 feet. Utilizing divers to search will not be an option due to a combination of near zero visibility on the lake-bottom, extremely dangerous diving depths, and freezing surface temperatures.
At this time wardens have not located the bodies of the men. This week, wardens will continue to search the lake-bottom in areas surrounding the snowmobiles. If the bodies are not recovered by Friday the 29th, recovery efforts will resume after spring ice-out utilizing side scan sonar. An update will be provided if further details become available.
Image courtesy Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife