A local man was killed Saturday afternoon in a snowmobile accident in the Somerset County town of Smithfield.

A Maine Warden Service news release identified the victim as Brian Gatie, 53, of Smithfield.

Gatie was travelling on a club snowmobile trail when his sled, an early model Polaris Indy snowmobile, struck a tree. Gatie’s was the first of three sleds travelling together at the time of the crash. Excessive speed appears to be a factor in the incident, and Gatie was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, the warden service said, adding that it is investigating the crash.

Smithfield Fire Chief Jack Easler said one of the skis on the front of the victim’s snowmobile apparently caught on the tree and then hit it.

Easler said the accident happened on Mount Tom Road about a mile from Smithfield village.

The first report of the accident came to the Somerset County Regional Communications Center in Skowhegan at 1:44 p.m. Saturday. A dispatcher said the agency dispatched an ambulance to the scene.

Smithfield fire and rescue units also were sent there, as were Delta Ambulance and emergency personnel from neighboring Norridgewock.

Easler said he and another man tried to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the victim, who was still breathing, but the man died just as emergency rescue personnel were arriving.

The warden service cautioned snowmobile operators to be aware of icy and deteriorating trail conditions in some parts of the state. This was the third fatal snowmobile crash of the year in Maine.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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