Maine Game Warden Divers recovered the body of a Smithfield man from North Pond at approximately Sunday afternoon, Jan. 1.
Jeremiah Meader, age 42 of Smithfield, was driving his side-by-side UTV with his wife and two other adult passengers across North Pond in Smithfield around 1:00 am this morning when his UTV broke through the ice. The group was returning home after leaving a friend’s residence. When the ATV broke through, Meader’s wife and two passengers were able to get out of the ATV, but Meader was unable to get out of the 2020 Yamaha UTV before it completely submerged.
One of the friends tried to dive down into the icy water to try and retrieve Meader but was unsuccessful. The trio then tried to find their way home, but due to the extreme fog and darkness, they were unable to find their way off the ice, and were rescued by emergency rescue personnel at about 2:30 a.m. this morning. The two friends were treated for hypothermia and released, but Meader’s wife was transported to the hospital due to hypothermia and released this morning. Maine Game Wardens and rescue personnel searched for Meader until early this morning but were unsuccessful.
At approximately 7:00 a.m. this morning, Maine Game Wardens, Maine Warden Service divers, and rescue personnel from Smithfield FD, Rome FD, Belgrade FD, Norridgewock FD, Oakland FD, Skowhegan FD and Delta Ambulance reconvened to resume searching. Crews convened at the Smithfield Fire Department along with family and friends of Meader.
The Maine Warden Service dispatched two airboats with Warden Service divers out onto the ice to search for Meader. The group went to an area approximately ¼ mile from shore where the UTV broke through the two inches of soft gray ice. At approximately 1:20 this afternoon, Game Warden Divers recovered the body of Mr. Meader in approximately eight feet of water. He was transported to Dan & Scott Funeral home.
Game Warden Sergeant Josh Bubier says, “Ice conditions vary greatly across the state, and everyone needs to check the ice before heading out… While in some areas, the ice may be thick enough, in other areas, it can be dangerously thin.”