Coast Guard rescues three stranded on Saginaw Bay by ice crack

CLEVELAND – U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit rescued three Michigan ice fishermen on Saginaw Bay, Tuesday, at approximately 7 p.m., when they were unable to return to shore due to a widening crack in the ice.

“We picked up one individual on the first hoist, ferried him to shore, and then went and picked up the other two,” said Lt. Brian Ward, co-pilot of the rescue helicopter. “All three appeared to be wearing survival suits.”

All three were transported to shore with no apparent injuries.

The HH-65 Dolphin Helicopter was dispatched after a Good Samaritan saw the crack preventing the men from return to shore and called 911.

The rescue helicopter transported the three men to local responders on shore, and was subsequently dispatched to Bay City, Mich. after receiving a report of five individuals stuck on the ice.

All five were directed to shore by local law enforcement with no reported injuries.

“We got to the mouth of the Saginaw River and saw what appeared to be gear left behind by those individuals,” said Ward. “We flew over the river for approximately 10 or 15 minutes making sure there was no one else in distress.”

The Ninth Coast Guard District would like to remind the Great Lakes public to take charge of their safety this ice fishing season as temperatures remain mild throughout the Great Lakes.

Because Great Lakes ice is dangerous and unpredictable, the Coast Guard advises people to remember the following:

I – Intelligence – check the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going and know how to call for help/assistance.

C – Clothing – wear the proper anti-exposure clothes with multiple layers. If possible, wear a dry suit to prevent hypothermia, which can occur within minutes after falling through the ice.

E – Equipment – have the proper equipment such as a marine band radio, life jackets and screw drivers.

Recreational ice fisherman are encouraged to:

Use the buddy system: NEVER go out on the ice alone.

Dress in bright colors; and wear an anti-exposure suit that is waterproof, including a personal flotation device (PFD).

Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers for self-rescue. They are much more effective than using your hands.

Carry a whistle or noise-making device to alert people that you are in distress such as a cell phone or a VHF-FM radio.

Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges and slushy areas, which signify thinner ice.

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