The Maine Warden Service has issued a warning about ice thickness after a man drowned in Smithfield when his utility terrain vehicle fell into North Pond.

Who Died in the Accident?

Jeremiah Meader, 42, of Smithfield died early Sunday morning when he and three others were crossing North Pond at around 1:00. Meader's wife was one of the four in the UTV when it broke through the ice as they were returning home from visiting friends. The other three passengers were able to get out of the vehicle, but Meader was unable to get out before it became submerged.

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Was Anyone Else Hurt?

One of the people in the party tried to rescue Meader but was unsuccessful. The group decided to go home but found they were unable to find their way in the extreme fog and darkness. Eventually, they were rescued by emergency personnel around 2:30 Sunday morning. The two adult friends of the Meaders were treated for hypothermia and released, while Meader's wife was transported to the hospital due to hypothermia and was later released.

A search for Meader was launched, involving several agencies. His body was finally recovered at around 1:30 Sunday afternoon from approximately eight feet of water.

Is Ice in Maine Unstable, At This Point?

Now, Maine Game Warden Josh Bubier is cautioning residents about the varying stability of ice on Maine's waterways.

Ice conditions vary greatly across the state, and everyone needs to check the ice before heading out. While in some areas, the ice may be thick enough, in other areas, it can be dangerously thin.

Officials say it's important to check the ice frequently, not just at the edge. While the ice may be thick enough along the edges, it could be thinner and more dangerous toward the middle of the lake or pond.

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