Pittsburg — A 12-year-old Strafford boy suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries when the snowmobile he was operating plunged off a bank adjacent to a bridge crossing the East Branch of the Dead Diamond River on Saturday afternoon.
Officials say that Jack Whitcher, 12, of Strafford was traveling southwest on Corridor 143 (Magalloway Road) with his father and two other companions when he failed to negotiate a slight right-hand turn and ended up driving off a bridge embankment. The snowmobile subsequently went airborne and crashed into the opposing bank of the East Branch of the Dead Diamond River.
The impact threw Jack from the machine, and he landed in the water. He was pulled from the water by his father and another adult companion and brought up to the trail where he was kept warm by emergency supplies provided to them by other snowmobilers, who had happened upon the scene. Another snowmobiler volunteered to drive over 8 miles to a store in town to place a call to 911.
Because of the remote location and the extended wait time for EMS personnel to respond, Michael Whitcher, Jack's father, and the other members of his riding group located a sled at a nearby camp, placed Jack in the sled and were in the process of extricating him when rescue personnel arrived.
Emergency personnel from Pittsburg Fire and 45th Parallel EMS, Pittsburg Police and a Coos County Sheriff's officer responded to the scene, where they were able to expedite the extraction.
The patient was transported to Upper-Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook for treatment of his injuries.
The boy was wearing a helmet and eye protection at the time of the crash, and authorities believe that traveling too fast for existing conditions was the primary contributing factor.