airboat rescues 8 fishermen

 
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Green Bay, Wisconsin, US

LITTLE SUAMICO — Ice fishing along the shore of Green Bay, Gary Wesoloski looked up to check his tip-ups and saw something that wasn’t there a few minutes earlier.

“I just saw a blue streak go across the ice,” he said.

Through his binoculars, Wesoloski could see wind whipping a wide gap of open water about a half-mile out.

The roughly north-south crack in the ice ran across that section of the bay, stranding three groups of local ice fishermen.

“Oh, those guys are in trouble,” Wesoloski said he told himself as he called the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department.

The crack was as big as 35 feet, according to Deputy Troy Sherman.

Police requested the Brown County Sheriff’s Department airboat, which arrived at Geano Beach Resort about noon.

Seven adults and one child were shuttled back to shore in two trips by 1 p.m. Their ATVs were left on the ice to be retrieved later.

Two other ice fishermen declined the ride to stay with their equipment and continue to fish. A press release Tuesday from the Coast Guard said a friend retrieved the two fisherman later that evening on his personal airboat.

Oconto County Sheriff deputy

An Oconto County Sheriff deputy, far right, gathers names of the first group of four men and one young boy rescued from the ice of the bay of Green Bay with an air boat on Feb. 6, 2012 by the Brown County Sheriff's Department near the end of Geano Beach Road in Little Suamico. The group ventured onto the ice earlier in the morning and a 20-30 foot separation formed, thus stranding them. "I would never have expected for it to let loose like that," Roger Friedman said following his rescue. Several ATV's remain stranded on the ice as deputies return to rescue three more men.

Seven men

Seven men and one young boy are rescued from the ice of the bay of Green Bay with an air boat on Feb. 6, 2012 by the Brown County Sheriff's Department near the end of Geano Beach Road in Little Suamico. The group ventured onto the ice earlier in the morning and a 20-30 foot separation formed, thus stranding them. "I would never have expected for it to let loose like that," Roger Friedman said following his rescue. Several ATV's remain stranded on the ice as deputies return to some ice shanties to rescue two more reported fishermen.

Three men walk

Three men walk to an air boat as they are rescued from the ice of the bay of Green Bay with on Feb. 6, 2012 by the Brown County Sheriff's Department near the end of Geano Beach Road in Little Suamico. The group ventured onto the ice earlier in the morning and a 20-30 foot separation formed, thus stranding them. "I would never have expected for it to let loose like that," Roger Friedman said following his rescue. Several ATV's remain stranded on the ice as deputies return to some ice shanties to rescue two more reported fishermen.

Coast Guard helicopter

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., conducts an overflight of a group of ice shanties on an ice floe that broke free in the vicinity of Green Bay, Feb. 6, 2012.