January 17, 2018

MDIFW NEWS: Long Pond rescue on Mount desert Island

A Mount Desert Island man and two teenage girls narrowly escaped with their lives this evening after going into the water on Long Pond. Eli Strauss, 43, his 12-year-old daughter Julia and her friend Jolie Deal, age 13 and from Mt. Desert Island, were rescued a short time ago at the shoreline of Long Pond in Southwest Harbor. Early indications are that all three entered the water on one snowmobile operated by Eli Strauss. The three were able to swim to the pond’s southeast shoreline.

Earlier this afternoon, Strauss and the two girls had been snowmobiling on Somes Pond near their home on Oak Hill Road. Eli Strauss was pulling the girls on a tube behind a snowmobile as indicated by his wife, Robin. Robin Strauss went to check on the three at about 4:30 this afternoon and observed only the tube and rope. When the three did not return home as expected, she called Bar Harbor Police Department just after 5:30 this evening. Responders were advised by his wife that Eli Strauss occasionally drove to nearby Long Pond on his snowmobile so initial search efforts began there.

Knowing there was open water near the south end of Long Pond, Lt. Mike Miller with Southwest Harbor Police drove to the boat launch located at the south end of Long Pond. As he stood at the shoreline, he heard hollering from the southeastern shore near ledges that entered into the water. Two members from Tremont Fire and Rescue walked the shoreline about one half mile to reach those hollering. Due to hypothermic symptoms, Eli Strauss could no longer walk unassisted. Efforts to remove Strauss from the woods took time as terrain and conditions were challenging.

All three are being treated for hypothermia at Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor where their prognosis’ appears to be good. The snowmobile remains in Long Pond, the areas water supply. Efforts to remove the machine will be arranged in the coming days. Assisting in tonight’s rescue were police from Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, and Southwest Harbor. Fire and Rescue personnel from the towns of Tremont, Southwest Harbor and Mount Desert responded as did ambulance crews from Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor.

Game wardens will be returning to the area tomorrow and hope to take photos to better understand the ice conditions on Long Pond and location of the snowmobile. Even with the recent cold temperatures, this incident is a harsh reminder that ice travel on any water body at any time needs to be done with a high level of precaution.

Photos courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Photo 1: 12-year-old Jolie Beal as she’s being taken by rescuers from the shore of Long Pond to an awaiting ambulance. Photo 2: Eli Strauss being loaded into ambulance by rescuers.