Coast Guard rescues man stranded on ice floe in western Lake Erie

CLEVELAND — A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a man early this morning after he became stranded on an ice floe adrift in Lake Erie.

Just before 2:30 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Detroit overheard radio communications over VHF-FM marine radio about a person stranded on the ice. They made radio callouts and the Frenchtown, Mich., Fire Department reported being en route to Sterling State Park to respond to an all-terrain vehicle rider adrift on an ice floe.

An air crew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit and an ice rescue team from Coast Guard Station Toledo, Ohio, were dispatched to the area.

Sector Detroit watchstanders were able to make contact with the stranded man on his cell phone. He reported that he was wearing a full exposure suit but did not have any other survival equipment with him other than his phone and GPS.

The air crew was relayed the man’s position and arrived on scene to find the ice floe he was on completely surrounded by open water.

The air crew hoisted the man aboard the helicopter and transported him to Custer Airport in Monroe, Mich., where he was met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel.

Increasing temperatures means potentially weakening ice. As such, the Coast Guard reminds people to remember the acronym I.C.E. before venturing out on or near ice-covered waterways.

Information — Know the weather and ice conditions, know and tell a trusted person on shore where you are going, and know how to call for help. Never go out alone.

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

Equipment — Carry the proper equipment. Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers, which will help you pull yourself out of the ice if you fall through. They are much 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.

Sector Detroit will work with the man to coordinate a salvage plan for his ATV so that it doesn’t become a safety or environmental hazard.

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