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News From 91.3 KUWS
Another Lake Superior ice rescue bails out four ATV riders in Apostles
Last Saturday, four anglers were pulled from the broken ice and freezing waters in the Apostle Islands. Jim Leino reports about another Lake Superior rescue with the help of the wind sled.
Gradual erosion, warm conditions, and an insulating layer of snow resulted in unsafe ice conditions for the ATVs. The group was riding around Stockton Island. LaPointe Police Officer William Defoe was part of the rescue from the shore.
“They were brought out by a guide the day before who showed them where to go, and they were following their GPS and they were 200 yards off where the guide had told them where to go. Ice changes constantly, where it would be eight inches one day, it can drop down to one inch the next.”
Tim Eldred is a Fire Officer with the La Pointe Volunteer Fire Department. He says the anglers were over deep water.
“The last one in the line as they were going along broke through the ice and the machine was lost in about 160, maybe 190 feet of water and he took a pretty good soaking, up to his armpits in water… and they weren’t moving because they were on pretty rotten ice they were afraid to meet up as a group because they were afraid of falling through, and indeed when we went out to make contact with them, we were falling through, although just one foot at a time, not like we took a major soaking or anything.”
Aiding the rescuers in their efforts are “windsleds”, fan-propelled vehicles that can go over both broken ice and open water.
“They are specialized craft that, I can honestly say they were developed here within the Apostle Islands area. To the uninitiated, they look like a flat-bottom boat with an airplane engine on it, and they are designed for travel over thin ice and water, although their forte is ice that’s not thick enough to hold up automobile traffic.”
Last month, Ashland rescuers responded to stranded fisherman at Saxon Bay when the ice there broke up. Eldred says being on Lake Superior in the winter is tricky business.
“Well, I’ll tell you what our mantra is: ‘there’s no such thing as safe ice,’ and in particular, this last little bit of warm-up that followed some pretty substantial snow events had created some pretty nasty conditions out there.”
This was the first ice rescue for the LaPointe Fire Department this winter.
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