(Photo courtesy of Vexilar)
Duluth, Minn. – Twenty-six people fishing on Lake Superior were rescued when a pack of ice broke off on the Minnesota shore, trapping them in the cold.
The Duluth Fire Department received a call Tuesday morning from a resident who saw ice flakes floating in the distance. Crews brought the fishermen ashore in boats, some one by one. There were no injuries.
The Coast Guard, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Rescue Squad and St. Louis County Police are all involved. St. Louis police and Duluth police provided assistance. Many fishermen didn’t realize the ice had broken off the shore until they heard screams and sirens, according to the Star Tribune.
A few people started sprinting to shore before the water channel widened, said Jack Norquist, 22. It wasn’t the scariest thing, but it wasn’t fun either.
The rescue was similar to the one in northeastern Wisconsin last week, where 66 people were trapped on an ice floe on Lake Michigan.
The problem with ice fishing is that only then is it safe, said Duluth Fire Chief Sean Krizai.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Lake Superior is only 10% ice covered, which is well below average for this time of year. As a result, ice along the shoreline can suddenly drift to open water, depending on weather and water conditions.
Anglers waited for news of their ice fishing gear floating on the North Shore. The firefighter took the fishermen’s contact information and said they would try to get the equipment back.
We’re talking thousands of dollars in total, Fisher Porter Smith said.