A Smithfield man died early Sunday morning after his UTV broke through the ice on North Pond.
Jeremiah Meader, 42, was driving his 2020 Yamaha side-by-side UTV with his wife and two friends home after leaving another friend’s home about 1 a.m. when the vehicle broke through the ice, according to Mark Latti, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Meader’s wife and two friends were able to escape from the UTV before it became submerged, but Meader was unable to free himself, Latti said Sunday evening.
One of Meader’s friends dived into the water to save him, but wasn’t successful.
Meader’s three passengers tried to find their way home across the ice, but the darkness and extreme fog left them stranded until rescuers found them about 2:30 a.m., Latti said.
His two friends were treated for hypothermia and released, while Meader’s wife was taken to a local hospital for treatment of hypothermia and released later on Sunday.
Rescuers searched through the morning for Meader, and a Maine Warden Service dive team found his body about 1:20 p.m. in about 8 feet of water about a quarter mile from shore, according to Latti.
His body was taken to Dan & Scott Funeral home.
The area of North Pond where Meader’s UTV broke through had about 2 inches of soft, gray ice.
“Ice conditions vary greatly across the state, and everyone needs to check the ice before heading out,” Game Warden Sgt. Josh Bubier said. “While in some areas, the ice may be thick enough, in other areas, it can be dangerously thin.”