WEST GARDINER

January 21, 2011

Teen injured after crashing snowmobile

Airlifted to hospital, released

Kennebec Journal Staff

WEST GARDINER -- A local teen was flown to a Lewiston hospital Thursday after crashing his snowmobile off High Street.

click image to enlarge

A LifeFlight of Maine medical helicopter carrying Zachary Chaput, 14, for a trip to Central Maine Medical Center on Thursday morning from the West Gardiner Service Plaza and Rest Area. He had been injured in a snowmobile crash.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

Zachary Chaput, 14, is loaded from a stretcher into a LifeFlight of Maine medical helicopter for the trip to Central Maine Medical Center on Thursday morning at the West Gardiner Service Plaza and Rest Area. He had been injured in a snowmobile crash.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Zachary Chaput, 14, was taken by LifeFlight of Maine medical helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center with what were believed to be non life-threatening injuries, said Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte.

"He appears to have suffered a concussion and mild hypothermia," Turcotte said.

A CMMC spokeswoman said Chaput was treated at the hospital and released.

Chaput was riding alone on a trail north of High Street in the area of Four Corners Store when he went off the trail and hit a tree, Turcotte said.

Rescuers on the scene indicated Chaput was driving about 40 mph when he struck the tree. He was thrown about 20 feet.

Chaput continued to lay in the snow until help arrived.

"He apparently had been laying there for a while," Turcotte said.

Another juvenile, Zachary Pulsifer, of Gardiner, was riding in the area and came across Chaput around 10:30 a.m., Turcotte said. Pulsifer immediately called for help.

Fire and rescue crews from West Gardiner and Gardiner organized the rescue effort. Rescuers used a snowmobile and sled to rush Chaput to a waiting ambulance. The ambulance took the teen to the West Gardiner Service Plaza and Rest Area where he was loaded into a LifeFlight helicopter for the trip to CMMC.

Game Warden Bob Decker continued to investigate the accident Thursday afternoon.

Turcotte said Chaput's injuries could have been worse. "He was wearing a helmet," she said.

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