(LibertySociety.com) – A potentially deadly situation on Lake Erie was thwarted by the United States Coast Guard on January 22. A group of 20 people were ice fishing a half-mile off Catawba Island State Park on an ice floe when strong winds pushed it. The movement caused a crack in the ice to expand and eventually become a body of water, leaving the fishermen trapped. Two Coast Guard airboats were deployed from Station Marblehead, near Port Clinton, Ohio, at 10:20 a.m. to rescue the fisherman after they called for help. A Coast Guard helicopter was also sent from Air Station Detroit.
The Coast Guard rescued nine of the fishermen from the ice floe by airboat. First responders from the Put-in-Bay Fire Department helped four others to safety. The other seven fishermen made it back to shore after repairing their own airboat. None of the fishermen or rescuers suffered any injuries. Following the rescue, the Coast Guard released a statement to warn the public about venturing onto ice formations. The Facebook post also said that ice floes “can be unpredictable and dangerous,” adding that the wind and current can cause the ice floes to move into open water.
The Coast Guard has rescued many ice fishermen in the past on the Great Lakes. In February 2022, 18 people were rescued by airboat after a Coast Guard helicopter pilot spotted the group from the air. Seven others were rescued the week before. In February 2021, the Coast Guard and other agencies rescued 66 fishermen trapped on an ice floe on Lake Michigan. In February 2019, 46 fishermen were taken to safety by the Coast Guard and other agencies, while 100 others were able to get back to shore on their own. The Coast Guard’s motto for ice rescue is “No ice is safe ice.” Rescuers have previously warned that ice fishermen should always take precautions and never go onto the ice when the temperature is rising.
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