Belmont man seriously hurt after hitting fence
By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — In a freak snowmobiling accident Wednesday night, a 35-year-old Belmont man sustained life-threatening injuries when he crashed into a fence and then was accidentally run over by another snowmobiler, officials said.
The victim, whose name was not released, was found unconscious and bleeding, with broken bones and head trauma, according to Belmont Fire Department Capt. Mike Newhall.
The crash happened around 10:30 p.m. on a trail off of South Road, which links Route 140 and Route 106. The snowmobiler likely would have died on impact if not for the fact that he was wearing a helmet, Newhall said.
"He had hit a fence post and his riding partner ran over him by accident. He split his helmet in half," Newhall said.
"It saved his life," Newhall said of the helmet, "but he still had significant trauma to his head and neck."
The victim was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia and then taken by ground ambulance to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. Aerial transport was not possible due to the weather.
Belmont police and fire responders used snowmobiles that were provided to them by other riders to make access to the scene of the accident, Newhall reported.
"We were fortunate. Snowmobilers are quite a nice bunch of people, when our first guys got there, and people were there, they said, 'Take our sleds. Take them.' And they let us use them," he said.
The crash occurred about 1,500 yards into the woods, and without the use of snowmobiles, the rescue could have involved a larger number of responders and taken much longer, Newhall said.
Belmont firefighter Josh Huestis, student intern John Bowler and Lt. Sean McCarty, along with Belmont police, were first to make contact with the patient, Newhall said. The victim was unresponsive and had significant head trauma, as well as many broken bones, he reported. The Argo, an eight-wheel vehicle with tracks that drives on top of the snow, arrived with additional personnel, including Lt. Greg Bavis and student intern Steve Maffee, shortly after the initial group of responders made contact, Newhall said. The patient was loaded into a stokes litter and placed on the Argo for transport off of the trail, and from there was loaded into the ambulance, he said.
There were no drugs or alcohol involved, Newhall said.
New Hampshire Fish and Game is investigating the incident.