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Anglers on ice floes rescued

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard and several other agencies rescued 66 people stranded on ice floes in a bay in northeastern Wisconsin.

Ice boats and helicopters were used to bring the people who were ice fishing to safety Thursday in Door County. Three separate ice floes broke away after cracks developed between the shore and groups of people, the Coast Guard said.

High winds associated with an approaching winter storm pushed the floes further from shore. No one was injured.

“Today’s success is a direct result of effective training and the long standing and close relationships with our agency partners in the greater Sturgeon Bay Area,” said Cmdr. Bryan Swintek, search and rescue coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan.

Coast Guard Ice Rescue teams from Sturgeon Bay, Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, two helicopters from Traverse City, Michigan, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and local government agencies assisted in the rescue, which took four hours to complete.

Helicopter crews lowered rescue swimmers to the ice to help coordinate the rescues as local first responders and the Coast Guard’s ice boats arrived.

The speed and efficiency at which the rescue operation took place was especially vital because of a winter storm that shortly afterward brought heavy snow and high winds, and thus limited visibility, said Pat McCarty, chief deputy for the Door County sheriff’s office.

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