About 100 fishermen rescued after large chunk of ice broke off in Lake Minnesota

About 100 people fishing on a frozen Minnesota lake were rescued after much of the ice broke off, leaving them stranded.

According to a press release from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, emergency responders received a 911 call just after 11:30 a.m. Monday from people fishing on Upper Red Lake in northern Beltrami County. Callers said a large chunk of ice had detached from the main shore leaving about 100 people stranded, authorities said.

When first responders arrived, they estimated the fishermen had drifted up to 100 feet out into open water after the break, according to the sheriff’s office.

Several water rescue workers and vehicles were dispatched to the site and surveyed the extent of the open water with visual and drone missions. Authorities found a narrow point of separation to deploy a makeshift bridge to evacuate the stranded fishermen.

On Facebook, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office advised those who needed to be evacuated to go to the access point at JR’s Corner.

A fisherman named Shane, from North Woods Fish Houses in Beltrami County, said in a video posted to Facebook that “a pretty big crack” was opening up from east to west.

“We have some people on the other side of the waterline,” he said. “We will come to you.”

The upper Midwest had a very warm fall season, with temperatures nearing 70 degrees in early November after above-average temperatures in October and September.

Northern Minnesota had a cold snap ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday when many lakes produced ice sheet. But after the holiday, temperatures reached almost 50 degrees, forecasts show, which led to the thawing and melting of the ice.

Gusty south-easterly winds on Monday probably loosened the ice even more.

Much colder weather is on the way for the upper Midwest over the next few days and more ice will form.

Due to the urgency of getting people off the ice and the likelihood that multiple groups would not notice the separation, first responders broadcast a wireless emergency alert, according to the sheriff’s office. Shortly after 2:30 p.m., officials announced that all – an estimated 100 people – had been evacuated from the ice.

Authorities warned those planning ice fishing to remain cautious and vigilant.

“The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office is a reminder to those thinking about getting on the ice that ice is very unpredictable in the early season,” authorities said. “Extreme caution should be exercised when stepping onto the ice and regularly checking thickness to ensure there is an adequate amount of ice.”

ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway, Christopher Looft, Max Golembo, and Darren Reynolds contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *