Rescue officials and the U.S. Coast Guard received a call around 2:30 p.m. Sunday regarding a group of people who had walked out onto the ice of Lake Erie which then broke off into two separate ice floes.
Initial reports said there were only a few people being rescued, but that was later increased to 10 people, of which were seven adults and three children.
The USCG’s Ice rescue team from Station Cleveland Harbor and local agencies were on the scene. Air Station Detroit also sent in a helicopter for support.
The USCG said its team rescued six individuals via an ice skiff. The other four were escorted off the ice by the Cleveland Fire Department.
Over the years many people have had to be rescued from floes that had broken off in Lake Erie. In March 2019, the Coast Guard and various other agencies rescued 46 ice fisherman from an ice floe, NBC News reported.
In 2009, 134 anglers were stranded, then saved by the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies in a rescue that made national news, The Associated Press reported.
Hours before Sunday’s rescue, the USCG Great lakes, citing the National Weather Service of Cleveland, warned of hazardous weather and urged residents to “avoid going on the ice and take steps to protect and help yourself.”
NWS Cleveland had warned that “dangerous ice conditions are developing over the next couple days. It is advised to stay off the ice on Lake Erie as areas of ice could break off from the shore.”
“You can do us a big favor by telling the public: ‘Do not walk on the ice,’” said a Cleveland emergency personnel captain cited by Cleveland 19. “The lake is not frozen.”