Ice fishing seems like an awfully tough way to catch some fish. You’ve got to layer up. You’ve got to keep your coffee warm. You’ve got to drill your ice hole, which I imagine takes some serious elbow grease. Still, it’s a beloved pastime in the coldest regions of the world—for example, Green Bay, Wisconsin, where authorities worked fast to rescue 27 people from a floating chunk of ice over the weekend.
CNN reports that the ice broke away from the shore north of Green Bay on Saturday, sending a large number of visitors, many of them ice fishermen, adrift. The local sheriff’s office speculated that a barge traveling through the bay may have caused the ice chunk to break off. (Barges, am I right?)
Locals say the ice made a loud noise—almost like a gunshot—as it broke off. “We thought it was interesting, got out of our shanty, took a look and people were yelling on the ice we’re separating,” Shane Nelson, a first-time ice fishermen, told local news source WLUK-TV.
The fishermen were stranded on the floating ice for around 90 minutes, CNN reports. Fortunately, no one was injured. The chunk of ice did, however, end up about a mile from the shoreline by the time the rescue was complete. The Brown County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard to rescue passengers using flat-bottomed watercrafts known as airboats.
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Personally, I had no idea ice fishing was so hazardous. A cursory Google search reveals a surprisingly high number of ice fishing deaths in North America each year, with three fatalities reported last winter. With that in mind, this incident could’ve easily gone south if it weren’t for the quick rescue. Here’s hoping that the fishermen at least got a few bites that day.