RANGELEY — The Maine Warden Service using sonar on Thursday spotted “items of interest” as the search continued for the bodies of three snowmobilers in Rangeley Lake.
The snowmobilers still had not been found as of Thursday evening and the search was postponed at least until the weekend.
Lt. Kevin Adam of the Maine Warden Service said around 4:30 p.m. that the search was being called off for the next couple of days due to a windy, choppy weather forecast. Wardens will decide Saturday afternoon when the search will resume.
Cpl. John MacDonald of the warden service said strong winds and fog over Rangeley Lake made navigation extremely hazardous Thursday morning.
“It’s difficult in these temperatures,” said MacDonald, who noted that the weather on Thursday was much colder than on Wednesday.
But just after 11 a.m., weather conditions had improved enough so that game wardens could resume the search, he said.
Wardens have recovered gloves and helmets, and say there are snowmobile tracks that lead to an unfrozen area near the middle of the lake.
Glenn Henderson of Sabattus, Kenneth Henderson of China, and John Spencer of Litchfield are presumed dead. The trio left Carrabassett Valley for a ride at 6 p.m. Monday and have not been seen since.
After early morning winds subsided Thursday, airboats were able to tow warden service watercraft across the ice to open water, officials said. The open water is approximately ½ mile from shore in front of the Rangeley public boat launch.
Sonar was used to scan the lake bottom for approximately two hours Thursday afternoon before equipment became inoperable due to weather.
“Sonar images indicated items of interest, which will be investigated further as weather permits,” wardens reported in a news release late Thursday afternoon.
Weather forecasts indicate high winds will resume for the next several days in the Rangeley region. Because of that, the warden service expects further recovery efforts to be on hold until early next week.
Meanwhile, they were reminding snowmobilers that lakes and ponds in Maine are not safe for travel.
Adam said the ice on Rangeley Lake remains unsafe for people or vehicles, especially since wardens have been in the open water, creating extra waves and weakening the ice.
“Nobody should be on this lake, for any reason or taking any shortcuts,” he said.
According to family friend Missy Morgan, who helped organize Wednesday night’s vigil at Oxford Plains Speedway, donations for John Spencer’s daughter, Cassidy Marie Spencer, 12, can be sent to Five County Credit Union, PO Box 598, Bath, Maine 04530.