CLEVELAND – A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit worked with the Canadian coast guard to rescue three men who became disoriented and stranded on an ice floe near the center of Lake St. Clair in Canadian waters Tuesday night.
Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton in Ontario requested help from the U.S. Coast Guard at about 8:05 p.m.
The Detroit helicopter crew lowered a rescue swimmer onto the ice to help airlift the men, who were taken to Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mt Clemens, Mich., where they were met and interviewed by Customs and Border Protection agents.
The men were not carrying a VHF-FM marine radio or a GPS, but used a cell phone to call for help. Responders were able to locate the men by using the nearest three cell phone towers that picked up their call, triangulating the signal and searching in the center of that area.
The Coast Guard recommends that anyone who ventures out onto the ice carry a VHF-FM marine band radio, which is much more reliable form of communication for the marine environment than a cell phone.
Another recommended piece of safety equipment is the personal locator beacon. PLBs can be activated to alert response agencies of your distress and can automatically provide them with your location, which can increase the likelihood that you will be found and rescued.