One Minute They Were Snowmobiling. The Next, They Were Adrift

All were rescued, with no injuries reported, in Lake Erie incident
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2022 2:00 AM CST
18 Snowmobilers Rescued From Ice Floe on Lake Erie
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Risto0)

A group of people snowmobiling near Catawba Island, Ohio, found themselves unexpectedly adrift in Lake Erie when an ice floe separated from land. A helicopter from Air Station Detroit noticed the large group on the floating sheet of ice around 1pm Sunday, looking for a way back to land, and a rescue was initiated, the Coast Guard says. All 18 people were taken to safety, and no one was injured, Fox 8 Detroit reports. Seven were rescued by the helicopter, four people by a Coast Guard airboat, and another seven by a good Samaritan with an airboat, CNN reports.

National Weather Service Cleveland had warned earlier in the day that people should stay off the lake ice, because strong winds could cause it to drift away from shore and people could get trapped. "There's no such thing as safe ice, but people can mitigate their risks," an officer with Coast Guard Sector Detroit says. "Always be sure to tell someone where you're going and when you expect to be back. Great Lakes ice is unpredictable, and conditions can change fast." People near lake ice are also urged to dress for the water temperature, not air temperature, wear a life vest, and carry icepicks or screwdrivers in case they need to break ice. (More Lake Erie stories.)

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