Ice fishers rescued by U.S. Coast Guard

·1 min read

A trio of ice fishers out on Mitchell’s Bay Saturday had a close call after the ice broke and headed toward open water.

According to Captain Graeme Scott of 8-Wing Trenton —where the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre is located — the call for help came in at 11 a.m.

JRCC learned there were a number of people in danger so the emergency call was relayed to the United States Coast Guard.

Within an hour an American helicopter was dispatched and a crew managed a speedy airlift rescue of three people stranded on the ice.

Scott said two Trenton air crews were preparing to head to Mitchell’s Bay for the rescue, but thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard’s speedy response they didn’t have time to get off the ground.

“Luckily, they were rescued before our aircraft could take off,” Scott said.

Original reports said 20 people were stranded one and one person was in the water, but the reports were unsubstantiated.

Const. Amanda Allen of the Essex/Chatham OPP said Saturday was busy day out at Mitchell’s Bay and people who are fishing need to be extremely careful.

“We are advising the public to use extreme caution,” Allen said. “Due to fluctuating temperatures the ice is unstable and it can be dangerous.”

She advises all aspiring ice fishers to check weather reports, purchase the proper emergency gear, and have charged communication devices in tow.

“We also suggest that you let somebody know where you are headed and when you are expected back,” she added.

Floater suits and ice pick are also a good idea, Allen notes.

“If you do fall in, you can help yourself,” she explained. “And call police.”

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald