A couple and two children, who became stranded out on the ice on Moosehead Lake during a severe winter storm, were rescued late last night, March 14, by a group of both Maine Game Warden and Passamaquoddy Game Warden trainees.
Ruby Goodmen, 31, of Greenville, and Joseph Wentworth, 32, of Orland, were out on Moosehead Lake yesterday ice fishing with two children, ages 5 and 2, and their dog, when the weather started to worsen. One of the children was already wet, so it was decided that Goodmen would head home with the wet five-year-old and the dog, while Wentworth picked up their ice fishing gear, then would head back with his two-year-old, and catch up with them.
Very quickly, the weather got worse. At nearly the same time, Goodmen’s snowmobile broke down before she could get home, and due to whiteout conditions from the heavy snow and high winds, Wentworth could not see well enough to drive to them, and the heavy snow had already covered existing snowmobile tracks. Both called 911 and said they were stranded and separated in worsening weather conditions out on the lake.
The Maine Advanced Warden School, which includes both Maine Game Warden and Passamaquoddy Warden trainees, were training in the area, and had ended their day earlier when the call came in about 9:15 pm, notifying them about the stranded couple and children on the west side of the lake.
Fortunately, about half of the Warden Class was staying at a camp on the west side of the lake, and working with the Bangor Regional Communications Center, they were able to estimate the stranded couple’s locations through GPS coordinates transmitted through the 911 calls from the cell phones of the stranded couple. Goodmen was approximately 800 yards from shore, and Wentworth was two miles away from her.
Game Wardens Joshua Polland and Chad Robertson, two of the Game Warden Cadres assigned to the school, split the wardens into two groups, then led each of the groups, and they were able to locate and transport everyone to shore in about 45 minutes. At the time they were found, both children were wet and shivering and wrapped in blankets. The group was transported back to the camp, were everyone warmed up, and the camp owner provided a vehicle for the couple, children, and dog to get home safely.