Ten anglers were rescued Monday morning on the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior after the ice they were fishing on broke away from shore.
The Ashland Fire Department responded with its Ice Angel air sled to the scene off Bono Creek, about halfway between Ashland and Washburn, at about 8:30 a.m.
The four-person Ice Angel crew battled 4-foot waves and heavy ice to reach the anglers who were in separate groups of five, said Capt. Scott Thimm of the Ashland Fire Department. There were no injuries.
The anglers had walked onto the ice “and were maybe 300 feet offshore when the wind just pushed the ice out,’’ Thimm told the News Tribune. “The ice floe they were on eventually broke up and disintegrated out by Long Island, so it’s a good thing our crew got to them or they would have been dead out there.”
Thimm said the ice was 8 inches thick in some areas but that a week of warm temperatures, rain on Christmas night and then a strong west wind, gusting to 45 mph, combined to weaken the ice and blow it away from shore.
The Ice Angel is an amphibious vehicle powered by an airplane engine and propeller that can move well on ice, snow and water. The vehicle has been credited with numerous saves in recent years, including many anglers.
Ice in many areas of the Northland has become unstable and potentially unsafe after the recent warm weather.