A dive team from the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office staged a daring rescue operation on Sunday when five ice fishermen, ages 16 to 20, reported that they were stranded on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago after high winds shifted the ice. According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, by the time rescuers arrived, the crack separating the anglers from the shore was roughly 50 yards wide.
“This crack and the unsafe ice associated with it travels from an area of approximately Fisherman’s Road in Fond du Lac County and continues north into Calumet County approximately one-quarter to one-half mile off shore.
“This area of ice is unstable and dangerous,” wrote Sgt Chris Dobyns in a statement.
Due to the extreme instability of the ice on Lake Winnebago, officials are recommending anglers avoid the lake until conditions improve.
“These areas are not freezing and with the warm weather and wind, will continue toremain open and move. What may appear as solid, stable ice can and will open up depending on the wind directions,” stated Dobyns. “The Sheriff’s Office always advises that no ice is safe ice, and with the conditions that exist as they do now on Lake Winnebago, the ice is extremely dangerous as the conditions can change by the minute.”
For the five anglers stranded on ice on Sunday, it was a dangerous lesson that could have easily turned tragic. Earlier this year another five anglers were fishing on the lake when the ice broke and plunged the men into the freezing waters. The anglers managed to swim back to shore safely, at the price of being wet and cold.
Luckily, the young fishermen in this case were able to be picked up by an airboat before conditions deteriorated further.
You can see video of the dramatic rescue below: