Michigan Helicopter Pilot Helps Execute Amazing Ice Rescue of 18 People on Lake Erie
Over a dozen snowmobilers and ATV riders found themselves in a scary situation Sunday while they were out on one of the Great Lakes.
Several media outlets report 18 people off the coast of Catawba Island near Port Clinton, Ohio became stranded Sunday when some ice they were riding on broke away, causing a separation from access back to the shore.
A United States Coast Guard helicopter pilot from Michigan noticed the unfolding situation at around 1:00 p.m. and actually ended up making seven of the rescues with the chopper he was flying. A U.S. Coast Gaurd airboat and another good samaritan with an airboat are credited with making the other eleven rescues. Everyone was brought in to shore safely and no injuries were reported to any of the 18 people who had been stranded.
The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was based from the Air Station Detroit and was flying in the area when he noticed people stuck on the ice.
"There’s no such thing as safe ice, but people can mitigate their risks,” Lt. Jeremiah Schiessel of the Coast Guard Sector Detroit said in a statement. "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."
Officials are warning people who venture out on the ice, not just on Lake Erie, but on any of the Great Lakes or large open waterways, that they need to "to take precautions, not chances".
Before you head out, make sure you have dressed appropriately for the water temperature and conditions, not just the air temperature. This should include wearing a life jacket, carrying a reliable form of communication such as a mobile device, carrying an icepick, or screwdrivers that can help you self-rescue if you happen to fall through the ice.