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Massachusetts firefighter killed while snowmobiling in Stratford

STRATFORD — The victim of a fatal snowmobile accident Thursday has been identified as a Massachusetts firefighter.

Friday afternoon, the Billerica, Mass., Fire Department announced “with deepest regret and sorrow” that Firefighter David Silva died from injuries suffered in a snowmobile crash in North Stratford, about 1.5 miles north of Stratford Bog.

New Hampshire Fish and Game Lt. Wayne Saunders confirmed Silva was the victim of the crash, which occurred around 6 p.m. Thursday.

According to the Billerica department, Silva, 39, was appointed a firefighter in January of 2000 and served as the department’s SAFE (Student Awareness of Fire Education) and Senior Awareness of Fire Safety instructor.

Saunders said Silva’s death is the first snowmobiling fatality in the North Country this winter.

Fish and Game officials earlier Friday said Silva appears to have missed a corner while riding with two companions on the Corridor 7 Trail and struck a tree.

The crash remains under investigation, but Fish and Game Conservation Officer Matthew Holmes said distracted operation, not impairment by drugs and/or alcohol, may have been a contributing factor.

The crash happened in a remote area. Rescue crews from Groveton, Stratford and Colebrook responded by snowmobile, as did Fish and Game officers.

Fish and Game officials said the incident highlights the challenges rescue crews face in the Great North Woods.

The crash scene was nearly five miles into the woods from the nearest plowed road. There was no cell phone coverage in the area, forcing parties involved to ride miles to make a phone call.

Officials said it was dark, with temperatures ranging from 4 to 10 degrees below zero.

Mutual aid from several towns was needed because some specialized gear was not available in each town.

Source: UnionLeader