Sixty-six anglers in Wisconsin were trapped on and later rescued from ice floes in Lake Michigan on Thursday, officials said.
The ice anglers were stranded Thursday morning near the mouth of Sturgeon Bay, which opens into Green Bay, the Coast Guard said. There were no injuries, and everyone was rescued within four hours.
Cmdr. Bryan Swintek, search and rescue coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, said that training and close relationships between agencies led to Thursday’s success. Photos released by the Guard showed the rescue effort, which included helicopters.
The Door County Sheriff’s Office said that the anglers got stuck in Green Bay “due to pressure cracks that had opened between their location and the shoreline.”
They were in three different locations. The rescue was finished just before what was described by the sheriff’s office as a major winter storm hit the area.
By 9 p.m. Thursday, the city of Green Bay had recorded more than 6 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service, and some places inland had seen more than 9 inches.
Officials stressed that anyone going on to the ice should check the weather, have a reliable means of communication and dress for water temperatures rather than air temperatures.
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Great Lakes Fishermen have been stranded on ice before, including 134 who were rescued from Lake Erie ice after a crack opened up in 2009.
In 2019, the Coast Guard and other agencies rescued 46 ice fishermen, also on Lake Erie near the Ohio shore, and around 100 were able to “self-rescue,” authorities said at the time.
“When venturing onto the ice, no ice is ever 100% safe,” the Door County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement after Thursday’s rescue in Wisconsin.