Snowmobiler used flashlight to signal for help

ERROL — A Berlin man used his flashlight to signal for help when his snowmobile crashed on Lake Umbagog Saturday night, injuring him.

Fish and Game reported Keith Filteau, 29, was returning to his family’s camp after getting fuel in Errol when his snowmobile struck a plowed embankment where a bob house had been on the snow covered lake. The impact of the crash ejected Filteau off the machine. Using a flashlight as a beacon, Filteau summoned help from family members at the camp. A member of his family called 911 for help.

At the time the call was received around 7:30 p.m., the Errol Fire and Rescue was on a call for another snowmobile crash in the unincorporated place of Atkinson and Gilmanton Academy, a significant distance away. As a result, a mutual aid call was made and rescuers from the Colebrook Fire Department and 45th Parallel EMS responded as did Fish and Game and N.H. State Police — all coming a significant distance.

Filteau was ultimately transported by 45th Parallel EMS to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Fish and Game conservation officers credited the Filteau family with having an emergency plan in place. They knew the route Filteau was taking and the time he should return. His family was watching for him and so observed his SOS distress signal. Filteau was snowmobiling alone and Fish and Game said if family had not been paying attention and seen his distress signal, he would not have been discovered for a long time.

Authorities believe speed and unforeseen hazards on the lake were the chief contributing causes of this crash. Filteau was wearing a helmet and eye protection at the time of the crash and alcohol was determined to not be a factor.