The Coast Guard was notified at 10.21am on Monday of around 20 individuals stranded on an ice floe near Catawba Island State Park in Ohio on Lake Erie.
Coast Guard crews from Station Marblehead and Air Station Detroit, and the Ottowa County Sheriff’s Office were involved in the efforts to help the stranded people.
By the following hour, another airboat and a Sherp all-terrain vehicle were at the incident to help.
By 12.41pm, all 20 individuals were safe at shore – seven people were able to repair their airboat and return to land, while the other 13 were rescued by first responders, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard rescued nine people, while four people were rescued by the Put-in-Bay Fire Department, a news release said.
No injuries were reported, according to the Coast Guard’s post.
The Coast Guard warned in their post that an ice floe, a floating ice sheet, can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially in windy conditions or areas that have currents, as it can end up drifting into open waters.
“We are committed to public safety and want to remind everyone the importance of exercising caution around ice formations,” Lt Adeeb Ahmad, Sector Detroit public affairs officer, said in the news release.
“Ice floes are unpredictable and can quickly become hazardous, particularly in windy conditions or strong currents. Always check local ice conditions before venturing out, and be prepared for any emergencies. Your safety is our top priority.”
Due to its small depth compared to the other Great Lakes, on average at 62 feet, the lake frequently freezes over in the winter months, the commission said.
The Coast Guard has been called out to Lake Erie before for other ice incidents. In 2022, 18 people were stranded on an ice flow while people were snowmobiling, according to News 5.