More than 60 ice fishermen were rescued in Wisconsin Thursday just before a major storm hit the area. The Coast Guard says helicopters and other rescue assets were called in after the anglers became stranded on floes in Lake Michigan near Sturgeon Bay, NBC reports. "The ice had broken free from land, and high winds associated with the approaching winter storm system quickly pushed the floe farther away from shore," US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City said in a Facebook post. Rescuers said the ice broke about half a mile offshore and a 1,000-foot gap soon opened up. The Coast Guard says all 66 anglers were rescued from three ice floes within four hours, with no injuries.
Rescuer Dale Stroschein tells WBAY that he has been fishing in the area for more than 30 years and has never seen a similar incident. "In my years of being on this ice, I’ve seen it open north, south, but I’ve not seen it where you got a split going to the west in that north-south region," he says. "And there must be a super strong current today. I’ve never seen that." The Coast Guard issued a reminder: "No ice is 'safe' ice. Always ensure you check the weather before heading out, use the buddy system, and wear your lifejacket." CNN reports that the winter weather also led to a 40-car pileup in Iowa. State troopers say whiteout conditions caused the pileup on Interstate 80 west of Newton. Several drivers were injured, some of them seriously. (Read more ice fishing stories.)