ABC News’ Ali Ehrlich reports:
A Massachusetts man survived 20 hours trapped underneath his snowmobile in below-freezing temperatures in the northern tip of Maine.
Paul Lessard, of Milford, Mass., left Tuesday for a solo ride on his snowmobile in St. John Plantation, Maine, near the Canadian border. Miles into his ride, the snowmobile enthusiast, nicknamed “Moses” by friends, hit a patch of melted ice and snow near a spring that caused his snowmobile to flip.
Lessard, 64, became trapped under the weight of the snowmobile, with part of his body in the spring’s water and part of it in the snow, all while temperatures dropped well below freezing.
When Lessard didn’t arrive at a friend’s home later that night, as planned, his friend reported him missing. A search team of authorities and volunteers spread out across a 1,000-square-mile area, searching for Lessard as the temperature dropped and wind gusts grew.
“When we heard that Paul was missing, we naturally thought the worst,” Tyler Corriveau, the owner, with his father, of a local all terrain vehicle store, told ABC News.
“He definitely likes to explore,” he said. “He rides primarily by himself.”
Corriveau and his father, Phil, who know Lessard from his frequent visits to their store, departed on their own search for their friend, traveling down a stretch of unused logging roads they knew Lessard was planning to travel.
Lessard says he had heard rescuers in the area prior to the Corriveaus but was unable to call out for their help.
“I heard the plane flying over,” he said from his hospital room. “Then, an hour later, I heard a snowmobile coming and it was my friend.”
Tyler Corriveau saw Lessard’s snowmobile and then saw that he was trapped underneath.
“We saw him move his arm underneath the snowmobile and then we realized he was trapped,” he said.
The pair used a small shovel to free Lessard’s head and then pulled him from under the snowmobile.
Lessard was taken to a local hospital and suffered only a shoulder injury and hypothermia.