Coast Guard Station Marblehead crew helps 11 people disoriented on Lake Erie during snowstorm

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio patrol in a 20-foot airboat

Station Marblehead Airboat - USCG file photo

CLEVELAND – The weekend crew at Coast Guard Station Marblehead in Marblehead, Ohio, is staying busy, helping 11 people already today who were disoriented on the ice off Catawba Island, Ohio, during a snowstorm.

Initially, four ice fishermen called 911 to report that they had become disoriented and couldn’t find their way back to shore.

Dispatchers used the caller’s cell phone signal to obtain a GPS location, where the Coast Guard airboat crew met the fishermen and began escorting them to land. The fishermen had too much gear to load onto the airboat, so they walked alongside the airboat as it headed to shore. As they were on the way in, the boat crew encountered three more people who were also disoriented, and escorted them back as well.

While the boat crew was escorting those seven people, they were notified of four additional people, two on a four-wheeler and two on a three-wheeler, who were also disoriented off Catawba Island.

The boat crew made sure all seven people they were currently escorting made it safely to shore and then turned around to assist the four additional people.

When the airboat crew met the last four people, two of them came aboard because the three-wheeler they had been traveling on wouldn’t start. The remaining two, on a single four-wheeler, followed the airboat to shore.

“We hope there aren’t more people lost out on the ice during this snowstorm, but we have a response crew here through the night, and they are prepared to help guide those in need safely to shore,” said Chief Warrant Officer Sean McCarthy, commanding officer of Station Marblehead.

Coast Guard helicopter crews have been unable to launch due to the weather.

The Coast Guard recommends that those who recreate on the ice check weather conditions before going out and always carry signaling devices and a reliable form of communication.

Additional ice safety tips are available here.

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