Four people, including two women from Massachusetts, were taken to hospitals over the weekend following separate snowmobile crashes in New Hampshire that officials say may have been caused in part by inexperience, New Hampshire Fish and Game said.
Officials cautioned that conditions in New Hampshire are “poor” for snowmobiling so far this winter, with many trails closed and others providing limited safe riding space.
The first crash in the series came Friday afternoon, as a 73-year-old man hit a tree and was ejected from his snowmobile on Corridor Trail 21 in Stewartstown, N.H., when he “was unable to navigate a downhill right-hand turn in the trail,” New Hampshire Fish and Game said in a statement Monday.
Conservation officers and a state forest ranger were notified of the incident at about 3:45 p.m., Fish and Game said.
The rider, Ron Reiske, of Brookfield, Conn., became pinned under the snowmobile, which had caught fire, Fish and Game said. Speed is also believed to have contributed to the crash, according to the statement.
Reiske was put in a rescue litter and carried down the trail to an ambulance, Fish and Game said. He was taken to Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook, N.H., and later flown to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vt., the statement said.
On Saturday, a 41-year-old woman from Methuen was flown to a major trauma center after she went off the trail and into trees while riding her snowmobile in Milan, N.H., Fish and Game said in a separate statement.
Eloara Machado allegedly “failed to negotiate a corner in the trail” on Corridor 19, leading to her ejection from the snowmobile, which left her seriously injured, Fish and Game said.
New Hampshire State Police notified Fish and Game of the incident at about 11:30 a.m., according to the statement. Machado had rented the snowmobile earlier in the day in Gorham, N.H., and it was her first time operating one, according to Fish and Game.
Two Coos County sheriff’s deputies and Berlin and Milan Ambulances came to the scene, the statement said. The nearest conservation office was a “significant distance” from the crash scene, Fish and Game said.
A helicopter met Machado at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, N.H.,and flew her to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.,Fish and Game said.
About 2:30 p.m. Saturday, a conservation officer was notified that a snowmobile had crashed in a driveway off Hillside Drive in Pittsburg, N.H., Fish and Game said in another statement.
Lori Bechtel, 63, of North Easton, was going back to camp when “she was unable to navigate an uphill right-hand turn on an unmaintained driveway,” the statement said.
She struck with a tree after going down over an embankment and then hit another tree after she was ejected from the snowmobile, Fish and Game said.
Bechtel was put on a litter when responders arrived and taken down an unplowed road to an ambulance, Fish and Game said. She was then taken to Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, the statement said.
Officials said inattention may have also been a factor in the crash.
On Sunday, a 60-year-old woman was taken to the hospital with serious injuries that were not life-threatening after a snowmobile crash in the Flume Gorge Visitor Center parking area in Franconia Notch State Park, Fish and Game said in a fourth statement released Monday.
Laurie Toupin, of Brookline, N.H., was a passenger on a snowmobile when the crash happened on Corridor 11 in Lincoln, N.H., Fish and Game said.
Fish and Game was notified at about 12:15 p.m. of the crash.
The operator, Nicole Chevarie, 57, of New York, had attempted to “attempted to negotiate a curb and accelerated the snowmobile in a way that caused her to lose control,” according to Fish and Game.
It then went off-trail and down a steep embankment, which injured Toupin, according to the statement.
Toupin was taken to Littleton Regional Healthcare in Littleton, N.H., Fish and Game said.