Over 100 fishermen rescued from detached ice floe in Minnesota: Police

No injuries were reported, according to police.

December 29, 2023, 10:24 PM

Over 100 fishermen were rescued Friday evening after an ice floe detached in a northern Minnesota lake, according to police.

The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office said 122 fishermen were stranded when the ice floe detached from the main shoreline on Upper Red Lake.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Upper Red Lake is the largest of all inland lakes in Minnesota.

PHOTO: Upper Red
Water patterns on the shore of Upper Red Lake
Kent Johnson/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Thirty feet of open water separated the ice floe from the shore, according to the sheriff's press release.

Before emergency responders arrived on the scene, a bystander attempted to assist with evacuations by a canoe.

During the rescue attempt, four people fell into the water but they were safely brought back onto the floating ice and warmed in a fishing shelter, according to police.

Those four were the first to be rescued.

During the rescue, emergency responders realized some fishermen may not have been aware they were on the ice floe, so the emergency management team sent an alert with instructions of how to evacuate, it's unclear if it was county-wide.

On Thursday, Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division warned citizens of "unseasonably warm weather" with very few areas of the state having the ice thickness that's typical this time of year.

Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs said on Thursday, "Most years, the ice would be thick enough by now for vehicles and wheelhouses, and we'd be seeing a steady procession of them heading north," he said.

"But this year isn't 'most years,' and the ice is changing constantly. It's absolutely vital that anyone who heads out checks the thickness frequently, pays close attention to the weather, and has a plan in case the worst happens and they wind up in the water."

No injuries were reported from the rescue, according to police.

ABC News' Jessica Gorman contributed to this report.