Two friends, Amy Stiner and Melissa Moyer, tragically drowned this Tuesday evening when they drove their car into a lake in Maine. According to authorities, the deaths occurred just hours after the two had become lost while hiking in the Maine State Park and were rescued. It appeared that foggy conditions and unfamiliarity with the area contributed to the taking of a wrong turn that saw Stiner and Moyer’s vehicle quickly submersed in water, the Associated Press reported (via Yahoo 7 News) on July 26.
Amy Stiner was 37 years old and pregnant with her first child. Melissa Moyer was 38 and worked with troubled students in Pennsylvania. She and visiting her long-time friend.
“The end of the road becomes the boat landing and they just weren’t familiar with it,” Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith told the Kennebec Journal. “It was foggy and rainy and they literally drove off the boat landing right into the water.
“It’s just so easy to do. When I got the call last night, I knew what had happened,” he added.
Although an investigation into the incident is under way, no foul play is suspected in the hikers’ deaths.
Both women were originally from central Pennsylvania, according to WNEP in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Amy Stiner, who was from Columbia County had recently moved to a farm in Machias, Maine with her husband. Moyer was from Sunbury in Northumberland County (just west of Columbia).
Moyer had driven up to Maine with her 13-year-old son for the visit.
The friends had been hiking in the Maine State Park earlier in the day and had gotten lost. An off-duty firefighter with the Sunrise Search and Rescue team found the pair and their dog and took them to a nearby house, Smith said. From there, a game warden took them back to their vehicle, a blue Dodge minivan.
It was as they were leaving the parking area that Stiner, who was driving, took a right. A left would have put her on the road back to her home in Machias. But the right turn with fog obscuring her path led her down a boat landing and into the cold Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s pitch black — dark as a pocket and there’d be nobody there at that time of night and in that weather,” Smith told the Journal.
Stiner and Moyer then called for help. A 911 call from the duo around 9 p.m. revealed that the minivan was in water and quickly filling up with water as well.
“And then the phone just went dead,” Smith said.
The bodies of the two women and their dog were discovered an hour later in about 20 feet of water some 175 feet from shore. Rescuers using the GPS coordinates from the cell phone call originally had a general idea where to search but it was air bubbles breaking the surface of the water that alerted one of the searchers to the minivan’s position. A volunteer firefighter, a certified scuba diver, found the bodies minutes later.