Numerous people are reportedly stranded on what some are calling an iceberg that has broken free on a lake in Minnesota, according to local law enforcement officials.
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office said that 100+ anglers were stuck on a piece of ice that broke free on Upper Red Lake.
“We are working with other first responders to get an estimated 100+ people fishing off a large ice chunk that has broken free on Upper Red Lake,” the sheriff’s office said. “If you are on the ice and need to evacuate, head towards JR’s Corner. There is a temporary ice bridge to get across the open water. The Lat/Lon is 48.07581, -94.6507.”
A few hours later, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office said that everyone had been evacuated off the lake at little after 2:30 p.m., several hours after the initial call came in.
“Several water rescue agencies and vehicles were dispatched to the scene,” the most recent statement from the sheriff’s office said. “After assessing the extent of the open water with visual and drone operations, a narrow spot of the separation was found and a temporary bridge was deployed to evacuate the stranded fishermen. The location is the southeast corner of Upper Red Lake north of JR’s Corner. First responders assisted the safe evacuation of dozens of individuals.”
“Due to the urgent nature of getting people off the ice and the likelihood that several groups were unaware of the separation, Beltrami County Emergency Management utilized a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to notify of the evacuation,” the statement continued. “The WEA allowed notifications to be sent to cell phones of those who are not enrolled in the local notification system and provided GPS coordinates of the evacuation site.”
The statement later added that officials estimate that 200 people were rescued off the ice and reminded people that “early season ice is very unpredictable.”
“Extreme caution should be used when heading on the ice and to check the thickness frequently to ensure an adequate amount of ice,” the statement concluded. “The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Kelliher Fire and Rescue, Red Lake Nation Fire, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota State Patrol, Blackduck Ambulance, Lake of the Woods Sheriff’s Office and local resorts. A number of apparatus were deployed including airboats, water rescue boats, ATVs, drones and a temporary bridge.”
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