DEC names snowmobiler who went into lake

SARANAC LAKE – The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released the name of the snowmobiler who plunged into Lake Flower Friday afternoon and was helped out of the water by passers-by.

Witnesses say Shawn Wales, 37, of Saranac Lake, and another snowmobiler were going back and forth at a high rate of speed across a section of the lake where there was open water, when Wales’ sled went into the lake. He was able to make it to a dock along Lake Flower Avenue, where he was helped out of the water by Ivan Irvine, 15, of Saranac Lake, who witnessed the incident with his mother, Amanda Irvine.

Another person who claimed to have witnessed the incident said on the Enterprise’s Facebook page that Wales was helped out of the water by a second person, then wrapped in a blanket and taken away in a car.

Saranac Lake Fire Chief Brendan Keough said First Assistant Chief Jim Stinson talked with Wales briefly after he was pulled from the water. Wales refused any medical attention.

“Jim tried to get him to stay, but he wouldn’t stay,” Keough said. “Somebody picked him up, and away he went.”

DEC spokesman David Winchell said the snowmobile was removed from the water Friday evening. He said Swiss Marine helped get the sled out, and that an air boat and a small jon boat were involved in the effort.

“Examination of the snowmobile indicates all motor fluids are intact, so no fluids were released into the lake,” Winchell wrote in an email. “DEC is not issuing any tickets to the driver of the snowmobile.”

Since the incident, some people have asked the Enterprise why Wales wouldn’t face charges for behaving recklessly and putting potential rescuers in danger by reportedly driving his snowmobile so fast across open water.

Village police Chief Bruce Nason said he hasn’t found any reason to file charges in the case.

“The funny thing is you can’t ticket anybody for that,” Keough said. “They’re running across the open water, and you think they could write tickets for that, but they can’t.”