The Maine Warden Service is warning snowmobile riders to slow down and use caution as deteriorating trail conditions caused two fatalities over the weekend.

On Friday, 28-year-old Thomas Henderson of Dixfield died when he failed to negotiate a turn in a Carthage trail and his sled struck several large trees. Henderson was not wearing a helmet and died at the scene. His passenger, 22-year-old Spencer Knox of Carthage, jumped off the sled before the impact. Wardens say speed, alcohol, and operator inexperience appear to have been factors in this accident.

A Massachusetts woman died in a similar accident south of Jackman on Saturday. Game Wardens were called to an accident in Parlin Pond Township just before 5:00. 45-year-old Karen Pillman of Wilmington, Massachusetts was leading a group of 3 snowmobilers that were crossing the Parlin Connector Trail on Parlin Pond. At some point, Pillman's sled drifted off the groomed trail and collided with several trees. She was wearing a helmet but died at the scene. Officials say speed is a likely factor.

Maine Wardens say several other non-life threatening crashes took place over the weekend due, in part, to deteriorating trail conditions. The melting snow pack is making trails icy and is exposing rocks, stumps, and other hazards on the trails including washouts from brooks and streams. Snowmobilers are cautioned to remain alert and operate at speeds that will allow plenty of time to stop to avoid hazards.

The two weekend accidents were the 8th and 9th snowmobile-related fatalities this season.

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