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46 fishermen cast adrift on Lake Erie ice floe, rescued by Coast Guard

Scores of ice fishermen found themselves stranded Saturday morning on frozen Lake Erie just east of Toledo, Ohio, after strong winds and rising temperatures turned their ice floe into ice islands.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Detroit reported on Facebook that first responders rescued 46 people, two of them by helicopter, and another 100 escaped by themselves when a large section of ice broke away about 8 a.m. and began to drift near Catawba Island State Park. The Coast Guard said only minor medical treatment was needed.

Local fire departments and Coast Guard units from as far away as Traverse City, Mich., responded.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Miguel Corona told the Toledo Blade, “Once we realized there were more people about a mile, mile and a half offshore, we took our airboats and went to them and tried to rescue as many as we could.”

On its Facebook page, the Coast Guard in Detroit warned that warmer temperatures have made lake ice dangerous.

“No ice is safe ice,” the Coast Guard said.

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