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20 people rescued after getting stranded on ice floe on Lake Erie

US Coast Guard responded and all returned to shore with no injuries

Amelia Neath
Tuesday 23 January 2024 15:02 GMT
20 people rescued after getting stranded on ice floe in Lake Erie

Twenty people who were stranded on an ice floe half a mile from shore in Ohio have safely returned to shore, the US Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard was notified at 10.21am on Monday of around 20 individuals stranded on an ice floe near Catawba Island State Park in Ohio on Lake Erie.

Local authorities, a Coast Guard helicopter and two airboats were initially dispatched to the scene to start a rescue mission, a Coast Guard post said.

Coast Guard crews from Station Marblehead and Air Station Detroit, and the Ottowa County Sheriff’s Office were involved in the efforts to help the stranded people.

By the following hour, another airboat and a Sherp all-terrain vehicle were at the incident to help.

By 12.41pm, all 20 individuals were safe at shore – seven people were able to repair their airboat and return to land, while the other 13 were rescued by first responders, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard rescued nine people, while four people were rescued by the Put-in-Bay Fire Department, a news release said.

The US Coast Guard rescued nine, the Put-in-Bay Fire Department rescued four, while seven were able to self-rescue

No injuries were reported, according to the Coast Guard’s post.

The Coast Guard warned in their post that an ice floe, a floating ice sheet, can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially in windy conditions or areas that have currents, as it can end up drifting into open waters.

“We are committed to public safety and want to remind everyone the importance of exercising caution around ice formations,” Lt Adeeb Ahmad, Sector Detroit public affairs officer, said in the news release.

“Ice floes are unpredictable and can quickly become hazardous, particularly in windy conditions or strong currents. Always check local ice conditions before venturing out, and be prepared for any emergencies. Your safety is our top priority.”

Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes, with a surface are of just under 10,000 square miles and 871 miles of shoreline, according to the Great Lakes Commission.

Due to its small depth compared to the other Great Lakes, on average at 62 feet, the lake frequently freezes over in the winter months, the commission said.

The Coast Guard has been called out to Lake Erie before for other ice incidents. In 2022, 18 people were stranded on an ice flow while people were snowmobiling, according to News 5.

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