HomeOutdoorsNewsFirst Responders Rescue Nearly 200 Anglers From Iceberg on Minnesota Lake

First Responders Rescue Nearly 200 Anglers From Iceberg on Minnesota Lake

by Taylor Cunningham
Anton Petrus/Getty

First responders successfully rescued nearly 200 anglers on Monday (Nov.28) after a portion of an iceberg they were standing on detached in a Minnesota lake.

Fishermen on Upper Red Lake notified the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office around 11:30 am. Callers told police that a massive piece of ice had broken from the main shoreline. And at least 100 people were trapped, according to a statement by Chief Deputy Jarrett Walton.

By the time authorities arrived, about 30 yards of water separated the iceberg from the shore. Using drones, they were able to find a narrow strip of separated ice and put a temporary bridge in place. Several other agencies other helped by sending in airboats, water rescue boats, and ATVs.

Authorities also used the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to inform people who were unaware that they were floating in the lake that they had a way out.

Around 2:45 pm, rescuers had gotten everyone back to land. And luckily, they reported no injuries.

Authorities Warn Anglers That Early Season Ice Fishing Could Cause More Icebergs to Break Free

The event prompted police to remind anglers that lakes have no completely frozen over this early in the year. So people should be weary about trusting the ice.

“The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office reminds those who are thinking of heading on the ice that early season ice is very unpredictable,” Walton added. “Extreme caution should be used when heading on the ice and to check the thickness frequently to ensure an adequate amount of ice.”

Upper Red is of the first lakes to open for ice fishing each year. Adam Studniski, co-owner of JR’s Corner, an ice fishing resort, said that similar incidents happen occasionally due to early attendance.

Studinski was among the rescuers today. And he noted that all the angels involved remained calm during the evacuation process.

The lake opens to winter fishers as soon the temperatures drop low enough for the ice to harden. Typically, that happens in November or December. But the sheriff’s office states that the ice should be at least four inches thick.

The business owners along the shore keep an eye on the lake to ensure people are safe. And they have emergency plans in place in case something like this happens.

“Part of our job is monitoring and looking at cracks and watching the [ice] and making sure we have bridges ready when needed,” Studinksi told BBC.

Studinski also shared that the iceberg likely broke off today because “the southwest wind just shifted, and [the ice] broke away in some spots.”