Four fishermen were trapped in their boats for two hours Thursday when an ice floe surrounded them on Lake Erie.
The men were operating three flat-bottom boats near the mouth of the River Raisin in Monroe, Mich., about noon when the wind pushed huge chunks of ice toward them.
“The wind was so quick, they didn’t have time to react to it,” Sgt. Scott Smiley of the Monroe Fire Department told the Monroe News.
The ice was pushed on top of one of the boats, sinking it, and the men aboard had to hop onto one of the other two boats, Smiley said. One of the boats had three people aboard and was able to escape from the ice. The other boat remained stranded.
Fire officials launched a pontoon boat to rescue the stranded boater, who was surrounded by a quarter-mile of ice that stretched to the shore, Smiley said. The rescue team had to partially walk on the ice and use the boat to reach the man.
A recovery company will have to retrieve the boat, the value of which was not known, or the men will have to wait until the ice thaws and the boat comes ashore.
Smiley said people should be wary of ice floes while fishing in open water at this time of year.