A Maine Warden Service airplane was forced to make an emergency landing on Eagle Lake in northern Maine Wednesday morning, but the landing did not go as planned.

The warden service plane based at Eagle Lake is a 1979 Cessna 185, which is equipped with skis in the winter for landing on snow and ice.
It is one of 4 aircraft owned by the service. Maine Warden Service photo

Warden Pilot Jeff Spencer, who is based out of Eagle Lake, was returning from a bear telemetry flight when strong winds forced him to alter his normal landing pattern, according to a statement issued by the warden service.

Spencer was able to land on the lake, but while taxiing across the ice toward the warden service plane base his Cessna 185, which is equipped with skis, crossed an area of thin ice and broke through. Spencer escaped, but the plane became partially submerged.

Cpl. John MacDonald in the statement said several test holes were drilled in the lake on Monday and the ice pack was determined to be safe to land on. In fact, Spencer had made several takeoffs and landings since Monday.

MacDonald said the 1979 model Cessna is one of four aircraft owned by the warden service. The plane is in the process of being removed from the lake.

“The full extent of damage to the aircraft is unknown at this time,” MacDonald said. “We feel very fortunate that warden pilot Spencer escaped this incident without injury.”

The Eagle Lake plane base has been in operation since 1949 and ski equipped aircraft have been used by the warden’s service since then for biological as well as search and rescue operations.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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