Friday, March 2, 2007
Paul Blanco in Maine snowmobile accident
East Street resident Paul Blanco was reported missing Saturday night after his snowmobile encountered a wide stretch of open water while he and two friends were traveling across the ice on the northern section of Sebago Lake near Sebago State Park. Two riders (Bedford resident Jonathan Herbster and Gary Huntley of Oxford, Maine) were able to skim across the water at high speed, but Blanco's snowmobile was later found by the Maine Warden Service submerged in 30 feet of water about 75 yards offshore. As of press time, search efforts have been unable to locate Blanco.
Mark Latti of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said the search first concentrated on the shoreline and nearby cabins. On Sunday the focus turned to the water and scuba divers searched for three days. By Tuesday, they were using sonar to examine water over 90 feet deep that was inaccessible to the divers. Latti said that once the most likely sites were exhausted, tactics would change, with periodic passes by plane and boat, but "the search will continue until the body is found."
Latti said that while "we do have a handful of snowmobile fatalities each year," this type of accident is rare.
© 2007 The