Stranded couple, children rescued from icy Maine lake during nor'easter
As the storm was worsening, blowing fast-falling snow prevented them from seeing a path out. But luckily the family made it to safety just in time with the help of a special unit training nearby.
Strong winds and heavy surf hit coastal Maine as a nor’easter slammed into New England on March 14.
A couple and two young children were rescued from an icy lake in Maine after being stranded while out ice fishing during the blustery nor'easter that struck the area earlier in the week. At one point, the family became separated as the storm intensified Tuesday night.
Ruby Goodmen, 31, of Greenville, and Joseph Wentworth, 32, of Orland, were ice fishing out on Moosehead Lake, located about 60 miles northwest of Bangor, with children ages 2 and 5 and their dog when the weather conditions took a drastic turn for the worse from the incoming storm.
Goodmen decided to head home with the 5-year-old and the dog while Wentworth picked up the fishing gear, and he and the 2-year-old planned to catch up with them later, according to officials with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
"One of the children was already wet, so it was decided that Goodmen would head home," officials said in a statement.
Maine game warden trainees carry out one of the children stranded with two adults on Moosehead Lake in Maine during the nor'easter earlier in the week. (Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife)
Goodmen started to ride back home on her snowmobile when the vehicle broke down as the nor'easter continued to worsen. Heavy snow and high winds led to low visibility, preventing Wentworth and the 2-year-old from being able to locate Goodmen, the child and dog. Also, the tracks left by the snowmobile quickly became covered with snow, further stranding both groups.
The brisk cold hit a low of 29 degrees Fahrenheit in the area, although the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature was probably much lower, especially out on the lake.
Goodmen and Wentworth both separately called 911 at around 9:15 p.m. EDT, saying they were stranded in the worsening storm. Luckily, cadets with the Maine Advanced Warden School were already training in the area, and about half of the group was still at camp on the west side of the lake when the emergency call came in.
The trainees and Bangor's emergency communications center were able to estimate the couple's locations using GPS coordinates transmitted from their cell phones. Goodmen was located about 800 yards from the shore, while Wentworth was about 2 miles away from Goodmen.
A couple and two children who became stranded on the ice on Moosehead Lake in Maine during the nor'easter were rescued late Tuesday night, March 14, 2023, by Maine game warden cadets who happened to be training in the area. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Once the location was estimated, two search groups were assembled by Game Wardens Joshua Polland and Chad Robertson, who were able to locate and mobilize a rescue team in about 45 minutes.
Officials said both children were wet, shivering and wrapped in blankets when they were located. The group was transported back to the camp, and the couple was provided a vehicle to safely get them and their children and dog home.
The same nor'easter also stranded two hikers in Mount Washington State Forest in the far southwestern corner of Massachusetts on Tuesday after they could not retrace their steps due to the bad weather. The hikers were located early Wednesday morning and made it out of the forest just before 5 a.m. EDT. Snowfall totals reached the 3-foot mark in several locations across the Northeast.
In this photo provided by Massachusetts State Police, a search team looks for two hikers stranded by heavy snow, on an overnight rescue operation, in Mount Washington State Forest in Massachusetts, early Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (Massachusetts State Police via AP)
Several areas across northwestern Maine reported more than 3 inches of snow by Wednesday morning. Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, located about 30 miles southeast of Moosehead Lake, received 5.6 inches of snow, according to reports. The highest snow report in Maine by Wednesday morning was 22 inches in Acton, Maine, located in the southwestern part of the state near the New Hampshire border.
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