Dozens of ice fishermen have been rescued after being stranded on Upper Red Lake for three days. The lake is approximately five and a half hours north of the Twin Cities in Beltrami County.
KSTP reports that the anglers were trapped when Thursday's blizzard hit. The station talked by phone to one of them, Jason Strom, who reported that as many as 100 anglers in 45 ice houses were stuck on the ice when high winds and drifting snow left them inaccessible to help.
"I wasn't sure we were going to make it off the ice alive, it was that scary," Strom said, adding that snowdrifts between four and seven feet high piled up more quickly than they could be shoveled. The ice road onto the lake drifted over and was impassable. He said that the snow was so heavy that it caused the ice to crack and break in places, making the rescue operation all the more treacherous.
He says the rescuers at JR's Resort "were heroes," using snowmobiles to rescue some of the children who were stranded.
"They risked their lives to save us and others by pulling us off the lake to safety," Strom told the station.
The last day for ice houses to be on Minnesota’s lakes is March 3 in the southern two-thirds of the state, and March 17 for the northern third, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR reminds owners of the ice-fishing shacks that if they fail to comply, they can be fined, and the house contents confiscated or destroyed.