Coast Guard, local responders rescue 46 ice fishermen off Catawba Island

Catawba Island - Almost 100 people found themselves stranded on an ice floe off Catawba Island State Park Saturday morning.

A hole suddenly opened up in the ice pack connected to the island, leaving the ice fishermen stuck.

The Coast Guard tells what happened in a news release issued Saturday afternoon:

"At 8:13 a.m., Coast Guard Station Marblehead received notification from an Ohio Department of Natural Resources representative that there were approximately 100 people stranded on an ice floe and that there were an additional 30 to 40 people in the water. Coast Guard District 9 Command Center launched two 20-foot Special Purpose Craft–airboats from Station Marblehead, two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Detroit, and two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Traverse City to respond for a mass rescue.

Catawaba Island Fire, Put-in-Bay Fire and Southshore Towing also responded with airboats, while ODNR, North Central EMS and Danbury EMS assisted in the search and rescue efforts.

Coast Guard Station Marblehead arrived on scene at approximately 8:50 a.m. and there were no persons in the water. Those who had fallen in or intentionally entered the water to try to swim to land were all back on the ice or land.

Approximately 100 people were able to walk to shore via portions of ice that were still unbroken; however, as the temperature continued to rise, the ice broke into multiple separate ice floes. The remaining fishermen were rescued by the airboat crews and helicopter crews.

By approximately 11:15 a.m., all persons who had been stranded on the ice were rescued."

There were no reports of any injuries.

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Photo courtesy of the United States Coast Guard.

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