Sunday, February 08, 2009

US FISHERMEN TRAPPED ON ICE SLAB

One person died and scores of others were rescued after being trapped on a big slab of ice that broke off from the shore of Lake Erie, US officials say.

Boats and helicopters were sent to help people off the ice floe which floated away from the Ohio shoreline.

Media reports put the number of those rescued - thought to be mostly fishermen - at between 100 and 145.

Fishermen say ice on Lake Erie has been particularly thick this winter, luring more people on than usual.

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Ice in western parts of the lake is up to 2ft (60 cm) thick, according to Bill Randel of the National Weather Service.

The ice started to crack when temperatures rose above freezing this weekend and strong gusts of wind pushed on the ice, he told AP.

It is thought the anglers had used wooden pallets to make a temporary bridge across a crack to get further out on the lake, leaving them stranded when the ice shifted and the planks fell in the water.

The slab of ice that broke off and floated away was about eight miles (13 km) wide, the Coast Guard said.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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