Coast Guard Rescues 18 People Stranded on Lake Erie Ice Floe

by Amy Myers
(Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

On Sunday afternoon, the Coast Guard managed to successfully rescue 18 Ohio residents who were standing on an ice floe near Catawba Island when it separated from the shoreline and floated into Lake Erie.

According to a statement from the authorities, the group had several ATVs with them at the time and were “looking for a route back to land” when help arrived at around 1 p.m. local time. The Coast Guard used a helicopter to rescue seven of the stranded people. Meanwhile, two airboats, one of which belonged to a good samaritan, helped the remaining 11 individuals.

“The helicopter lowered its rescue swimmer and began hoisting operations while Station Marblehead’s airboat got underway,” the Coast Guard reported in a statement following the incident.

Initially, the rescue effort began when the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Detroit spotted the group stuck on a large chunk of ice floating across the lake. Emergency medical teams arrived on the scene, but thankfully, none of the rescuees required attention.

Coast Guard and Local Stations Issue Weather Warning to Public

Prior to the incident, the National Weather Service in Cleveland released a warning to locals on Saturday regarding the potentially dangerous conditions that the winter weather could cause. Oddly enough, the Service seemed to perfectly predict exactly what happened to the Ohio residents the following day.

“Winds will increase from the southwest with gusts to 25 MPH possible Sunday,” the Service stated. “You are urged to stay off the ice on Lake Erie as there is the possibility that the ice will drift away from shore. Dangerous ice conditions could develop causing people to become trapped on the ice.”

Likewise, the Coast Guard reiterated the importance of adhering to weather warnings. Officials encouraged the public to pay attention to the forecast and follow local guidelines, especially when planning any recreational activities.

“The Coast Guard urges all who seek recreational opportunities on the ice to take precautions, not
chances,” the statement read.

As for those that need can’t avoid the treacherous conditions, the Coast Guard included a few key tips for staying safe when on or near any ice.

“Remember to dress appropriately for the water temperature, not the air temperature; to
wear a life jacket and carry a reliable form of communication; and to carry icepicks or
screwdrivers that can help them self-rescue if they go through the ice,” the statement continued.

“There’s no such thing as safe ice, but people can mitigate their risks,” added Lt. j.g. Jeremiah
Schiessel, from Coast Guard Sector Detroit. “Always be sure to tell someone where you’re going
and when you expect to be back. Great Lakes ice is unpredictable, and conditions can change