Coast Guard rescues 5 from Lake Erie ice floe

Coast Guard file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Delong

Coast Guard file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Delong

DETROIT — Coast Guard Sector Detroit’s Command Center coordinated with U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit​, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and other local rescue responders to save five fishermen from Lake Erie after they were stranded on an ice floe Friday.

Sector Detroit’s Command Center received a distress call after five people stranded on an ice floe were able to use their flashlights to signal someone ashore who called it in to Monroe County Dispatch, triggering rescue response efforts.

“It would have been difficult to find them if they didn’t have flashlights; it enabled them to signal for help and, ultimately, for us to locate them,” said Air Station Detroit Aircraft Commander, Lt. Adam Morehouse. “I’d also like to share with the ice-fishing community what we saw out there in regard to open water. There is a lot of it. The water is completely open in some near shore areas.”

The Coast Guard warns ice sport enthusiasts that the ice is very dangerous after the increase in temperatures over the past week. The recent warm weather has caused ice to melt, brought in heavy fog and caused multiple ice rescue cases with one life lost in just the past week.

The Coast Guard encourages ice fishermen and ice sport enthusiasts to check the weather before heading out and extend the forecast check to 24 hours to prevent being caught in bad conditions. Bring signaling and communication equipment such as a flashlight, flares, VHF radio and a personal locator beacon. Cell phones are good to bring with you but are unreliable as a primary communication source because signals are not strong off shore and batteries lose power in cold weather.

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