BATCHELDERS GRANT — A New Hampshire man died in a snowmobile accident Friday afternoon in the Gilead end of Batchelder’s Grant, an unorganized township on the New Hampshire border southwest of Bethel, after he drifted off the side of the trail and struck a tree.

According to Mark Latti, communications director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Paul Whitaker, 49, of Center Conway was riding a 2020 Ski-Do MXLR southbound on Route 113 in the White Mountain National forest when he left the left side of the trail, striking a tree around 4:45 p.m.

Whitaker was riding with three others when the crash occurred.

The other riders did not witness the crash. They tried to render aid to Whitaker when they found him unresponsive. One snowmobiler traveled to an area with cellphone service and called 911.

The Maine Warden Service, a White Mountain Forest Ranger, Gilead and Bethel fire departments and Bethel Rescue responded to the scene to assist with the crash. Whitaker was transported the SG Thibault Funeral Home in Rumford.

According to Latti, the crash is still under investigation, but speed and alcohol appear to be contributing factors. Whitaker was wearing a helmet.

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