Laconia fire officials say an all-terrain vehicle that the rider tried to skim in about eight feet of water off Weirs beach sank early this morning, but the operator apparently hitched a ride away from the scene on another ATV.
Fire Capt. Robert Landry said his department received a call about ten minutes before 1 a.m. Sunday from a person on shore who saw something unusual on the lake.
"The bystander said all he would see was lights coming from the water, so he figured someone was in the water," Landry said.
Rescue crews responded and found that the ATV had sunk in about eight feet of water, apparently while attempted to "skim" over open water, a feat sometimes accomplished by snowmobile riders who skim the water between patches of ice.
Nobody was found at the scene, leading to the theory that the operator of the sunken vehicle hitched a ride with a companion and fled the scene. Laconia Cold Water Rescue Team members searched the water for anyone who might have ended up in the water but nobody was found.
New Hampshire Fish and Game officers have taken over the investigation. Landry said he expects they will try to raise the sunken ATV to determine the owner through its vehicle identification numbers.