Maj. Tim Acerno: (603) 271-3129
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
January 30, 2006
Man Dies in Snowmobile "Skimming" Incident in Moultonborough
CONCORD, N.H. -- Daniel Harper, age 51, of Bellingham, Mass., died Sunday, January 29 at about 12:30 p.m. while attempting to operate his snowmobile over open water on Lake Winnipesaukee in Moultonborough, N.H.
"This loss of life underscores just how dangerous the practice of skimming is, which is why this risky activity is now illegal in New Hampshire," said Maj. Tim Acerno, who coordinates N.H. Fish and Game's Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) program.
Harper was one of a group of five snowmobilers. He attempted to cross an area of open water that was 350 feet wide, making it about two-thirds of the way across the water before his snow machine sank in 15 feet of water. The other snowmobilers and local residents pulled him out of the water and called for medical assistance. Moultonborough Fire and Rescue and Stewarts Ambulance Service responded to the scene and attempted to resuscitate Harper. He was transported to the Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia, where he was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m.
The dangerous practice of operating a snowmobile over open water, known as "skimming", has been illegal in New Hampshire since January 2005. If convicted, first-time offenders can expect to pay a minimum $500 fine. Environmental fines may also be involved, because snow machines that sink to the bottom of a lake release gas and oil into the water -- substances that are hazardous for fish and wildlife.