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U.S. Coast Guard: 18 people rescued after Lake Erie ice floe breaks away from Catawba Island

Rescue crews from Marblehead and Detroit spent much of the day working to rescue a group of people who were snowmobiling on Lake Erie when the ice broke free.

CATAWBA ISLAND, Ohio — Editor's note: The photo above is from a 2019 story.

Eighteen people who became trapped on Lake Erie ice off of Catawba Island on Sunday have been rescued, according to the U.S Coast Guard. 

No one was injured.

The Coast Guard said the ice floe broke away from land while people were snowmobiling and riding ATV's on the lake just after noon.

The Coast Guard says an Air Station Detroit helicopter noticed the large group of people on the ice floe.

Credit: WTOL
The U.S. Coast Guard used airboats and a helicopter to save about 20 people who became stuck on the ice near Catawba Island on Sunday.

Coast Guard Station Marblehead's airboat also assisted in the rescue as did a private citizen who had an airboat on the scene.

On Saturday, the National Weather Service issued a warning for people to stay off the ice on Lake Erie. Wind gusts this weekend have made it likely that ice floes will break away from the shore, the weather service said.

Credit: NOAA
NOAA satellite imagery of cracks forming on the ice in Lake Erie on Sunday.

In 2009, similar weather conditions caused an ice floe to break away in Ottawa County. One man died and 130 other people had to be rescued that day, Feb. 7, 2009, when a chunk of ice nearly eight miles wide came loose and floated about 2,950 feet from the shoreline near Oak Harbor.

Check back for updates.


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