TOMHEGAN TWP — A Fairfield man who went missing while snowmobiling on Moosehead Lake Thursday was found safe Friday morning after a difficult rescue effort, officials said.

Colby Davis, 25, of Fairfield, was snowmobiling with a friend when a snowsquall separated the two around Farm Island, according to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Communications Director Mark Latti. He was found after making his way more than five miles across the lake to find an occupied camp.

Davis was reported missing at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday by the friend he was snowmobiling with after he hadn’t returned to their camp.

“Game wardens began searching the lake immediately but were unable to locate Davis on the lake,” Latti said in a statement. “Game wardens also searched the shoreline and nearby cabins through the night but found no trace of Davis.”

Search efforts were disrupted by high wind speeds, low temperatures, blowing snow throughout the night and a report of an ATV operator who had fallen through the lake’s ice, Latti said.

“Game wardens also responded to an ATV and its operator through the ice near the same area on Moosehead Lake, further complicating the search,” Latti said. “The ATV operator was rescued and taken to Dean Hospital.”


Game wardens had begun an aerial search for Davis Friday morning, Latti said, when a camp owner on the lake called the Maine Warden Service at around 7 a.m. to report that Davis spent the night safely at his camp.

Latti said that Davis became disoriented and separated from his friend as the sun set on Thursday, driving his snowmobile on the lake before hitting and getting stuck on a pressure ridge in the ice. Davis then crossed the lake on foot before finding the camp.

“There was no cell phone reception at the camp, so this morning, the camp owner was able to drive a snowmobile out to where there was cell phone reception and notified the warden service that Davis was with him, and in good condition,” Latti’s statement read.

Officials across Maine have cautioned of unstable and thinning ice across the state, fueled in large part by warm temperatures, unseasonable storms, and worldwide climate patterns.

Latti described ice conditions across the state as “extremely variable,” urging recreators to check ice thickness before walking, skating or driving on it. Officials say 4 inches of ice is safe to walk on, 6 inches is safe for snowmobiling, and 12 inches are needed for larger vehicles.

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