Coast Guard rescues man from ice floe on Saginaw Bay – warns Great Lakes residents of unsafe ice

Great Lakes Coast Guard News
CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard assisted a man off an ice floe in Saginaw Bay near the mouth of the Kawkawlin River early Tuesday afternoon.

Due to the recent trend of warmer temperatures and with spring fast approaching, the Coast Guard is warning people to stay off old, weathered ice.

At about 12:40 p.m., search-and-rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Detroit and the 9th Coast Guard District in Cleveland both received phone calls concerning a man who was stranded on an ice floe in Saginaw Bay, one of the phone calls coming from the stranded man himself. Upon receiving the report, Coast Guard rescue crews launched aboard an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit and a 20-foot Special Purpose Craft-Air from Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, in Essexville, Mich. The airboat crew arrived on scene first and assisted the man back to shore. He was found to be in good condition and did not request medical attention.

The rescue today in Saginaw Bay is a perfect example of how ice can be unsafe and extremely hazardous to ice enthusiasts. Ice conditions throughout the Great Lakes are becoming increasingly unsafe with each passing day.

“With the prediction of warmer temperatures, there is a concern that people will be at risk for falling through the ice or becoming stranded on an ice floe,” said Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of response at the 9th Coast Guard District. “Ice enthusiasts in the Great Lakes are likely to see deteriorating ice conditions and are strongly recommended to take extra precautions with their safety.”

Earlier this month, the Coast Guard released localized safety warnings for the area around Duluth, Minn., as well as other areas of Lake Superior and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Coast Guard warns people to never venture out on the ice alone and always tell someone where you are going and how long you intend to be gone. The Coast Guard also recommends that a flotation device be carried when near or on the water.

Although the Coast Guard cautions against going out on the ice, we will continue to provide provide ice and water enthusiasts important safety guidance. When venturing out, a person should think I.C.E. as a precaution:

Intelligence – know the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going, and know how to call for help. Never go out alone.

Clothing – have the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Wear a waterproof exposure suit and a life jacket.

Equipment – have the proper equipment. Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers, in case you fall in. Use these items to dig into the ice and pull yourself out. They are more effective than bare hands. Carry a whistle or noise maker to alert people that you are in distress. Carry a cellular phone or marine band radio in a waterproof container, so that you can call for help if you come across trouble.

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