NH: Body of Snowmobile Skimming Victim Recovered from Connecticut River

Concord, New Hampshire – The body of Adam Debartolo, age 28, of
Perkinsville, Vermont, was recovered by New Hampshire Fish and Game
Dive Team members on Tuesday, April 5, at approximately 9:35
a.m.

Debartolo had been last seen “skimming” over open water on the
Connecticut River in Lancaster under the Route 2 bridge with two
other companions on Sunday, April 3, at 4:10 p.m. He was briefly
seen in the water struggling, disappeared from view, and was
presumed to have drowned. Snowmobile “skimming” is illegal in New
Hampshire; Connecticut River waters fall under New Hampshire’s
jurisdiction.

The dive recovery effort of the N.H. Fish and Game Dive Team,
which had begun on the morning of April 4, had many logistical
issues to overcome – a strong current and ice hampered the ability
of the dive team to systematically search the river bottom. Divers
searched throughout the day on April 4 and were unable to locate
Debartolo, although searchers found a cell phone and a driver’s
license that were identified as belonging to the deceased.

Because the ice pack remaining downriver from the point
Debartolo had been last seen created unsafe dive conditions, the
New Hampshire Fish and Game airboat was used to break up the
“rotten” ice from the Route 2 bridge down to the Israel River, a
distance of approximately a quarter mile. Ice in this stretch
ranged from less than 2 inches thick to near 10 inches. This effort
took the afternoon of April 4 to accomplish.

“Using an airboat as an icebreaker, officers worked several
hours to clear an area that would be safe for a diver,” said Lt.
Douglas Gralenski, the District Chief for Region 1. “Without a
doubt, this mission involved a lot of innovative thinking. Had we
not located the cell phone and driver’s license, we would probably
not have been back diving today. Believing that Mr. Debartolo had
to be close, we decided to give it a try and, fortunately, it
worked as planned.”

Adam Debartolo was transported by Bailey Funeral Home in
Lancaster. The Lancaster Police Department and Lancaster Fire
Department provided significant assistance on this recovery mission
and had a major role in providing assistance and resources to the
rescue effort.

 

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