Huge rescue effort after ice floe traps 35 fishermen in Duluth

Strong winds made a huge chunk of ice break off in Lake Superior.
Publish date:

When the ice you're standing on suddenly starts moving and you notice the shore getting further and further away, there's a good chance you're in trouble.

That was exactly the case for three dozen fishermen in Duluth on Saturday morning, when they found themselves trapped on an ice floe in Superior Bay.

In a news release, the Duluth Fire Department says strong winds created a crack in the ice "with open water," stranding the 36 men and their equipment.

"It created a crack that at one point was 50 feet (wide)," a fire official told MPR. 

Rescuers were called to the ice at 10:40 a.m., and subsequently used a ladder and various boats to get the fishermen to safety, the release says.

It took multiple agencies – including the U.S. Coast Guard and the DNR – to get the job done.

Interestingly, one of the 36 men decided to enter the water and was able to get to shore on his own.

Subscribe: Sign up to our daily newsletters

MPR says he waded through chest-deep water to get to shore before rescue teams arrived. 

“This happens every year,” a fire official told Duluth News Tribune, adding that "the ice is always changing, always dangerous."

Luckily, no one was injured in this case. 


Next Up


Duluth man rescues swimmers caught in rip current

A former Carleton College swim team captain helped pull three people to safety Monday morning off the shore of Duluth's Park Point. The News Tribune reports Josh Meltzer swam out in potentially deadly rip currents to save the swimmers struggling to stay above the water.