26 anglers rescued after ice drifts away from Minnesota shoreline

A group of anglers have been rescued after they became stranded on a floating pack of ice which broke away from the Minnesota shoreline.

26 people had been ice fishing on Lake Superior and had to be brought back to shore in boats just a few at a time.

Many did not realise they were drifting away from the shoreline until they heard shouts and emergency sirens, the Star Tribune reported.

Witnesses said some people had started to sprint towards the shore as the channel of water widened – with one angler reportedly jumping from the ice to reach land.

Ice fishing is popular along Lake Superior - but it led to dramatic scenes when a group drifted away from the shoreline. File pic
Image:Ice fishing is popular along Lake Superior – but it led to dramatic scenes when a group drifted away from the shoreline. File pic

The rescue happened near to the city of Duluth and came just days after 66 people were stranded on an ice floe on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.

The anglers – who had been fishing from the shelter of their ice huts – are waiting to hear news about their equipment, which had to be abandoned at the scene and was seen drifting up the lake.

“There’s thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff out there altogether,” fisherman Porter Smith said.

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Fire crews told the group they would try to recover their equipment.

Duluth fire chief, Shawn Krizaj, said: “The problem with ice fishing anywhere is it’s only as safe as it is at a given moment in time.”

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world and the ice near Duluth was said to be no more than six inches thick.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, just 10% of the whole lake is covered with ice, which is below average for this time of year.

This allows ice along the shore to suddenly drift out into the open water, depending on the conditions.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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