26 Minnesota Fishermen Rescued from Ice Floe in Lake Superior

by Chris Haney

On Tuesday, 26 fishermen in Minnesota were rescued after becoming stranded on an ice floe that drifted out into Lake Superior.

The 26 stranded anglers reportedly fished in “individual fish houses” before the ice broke loose from the shore. Officials received emergency calls about the ice fishermen and contacted the Duluth Fire Department. The department received notice of the stranded fishermen around 11 a.m. and took action.

The first truck to arrive to the scene rescued three of the anglers. However, it took further rescue teams to round up the other 23 ice fishermen. In addition to the firetruck, officials launched watercrafts, including both motorized non-motorized inflatable boats. It took only an hour to rescue all the fishermen and bring them back to shore safely.

The combined efforts of multiple agencies working together led to the successful rescue. The Duluth police, the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, the Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard aided the Duluth Fire Department.

Additionally, the fire department posted photos and shared details from the scene of the rescue on their official Facebook account. The incident in Minnesota comes only days after another even larger group of anglers became stranded on ice floes in Wisconsin.

66 Fishermen Rescued from Ice Floes in Wisconsin

Just days before, the U.S. Coast Guard and other local agencies helped rescue 66 ice fishermen who became stranded on ice floes in northeastern Wisconsin.

Emergency workers safely rescued all 66 anglers from a bay area of Door County on Thursday, Feb. 4. An approaching winter storm led to high wind speeds that pushed three ice floes away from shore, according to the Coast Guard. The agency said cracks developed in the ice between the anglers and the shore before breaking away from land.

Rescue workers used ice boats and helicopters to bring the fishermen back to shore. Multiple agencies worked together during the rescue effort. They included Coast Guard Ice Rescue teams from Sturgeon Bay and Cutter Mobile Bay, as well as Air Station Traverse City. In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources assisted in the rescue.

According to an Associated Press report, none of the 66 ice fishermen sustained injuries. Commander Bryan Swintek, a search and rescue coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, spoke about the rescue.

“Today’s success is a direct result of effective training and the long-standing and close relationships with our agency partners in the greater Sturgeon Bay Area,” Cmdr. Bryan Swintek explained.