PHOTO: Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office - Deputies and first responders found a spot suitable for a temporary bridge to rescue an estimated 200 stranded ice fishermen Monday.

PHOTO: Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies and first responders found a spot suitable for a temporary bridge to rescue an estimated 200 stranded ice fishermen Monday.

The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office (MN) coordinated efforts to rescue an estimated 200 people after a large portion of ice broke free and floated into open water on Upper Red Lake. Initial callers, who were ice fishing, at first reported only about 100 people in need of rescue.

The call came in to 911 Monday just before noon and alerted authorities that ice had broken free from the main shoreline and stranded a large number of people. When the sheriff’s deputies and other first responders arrived, they found the ice had drifted and left a gap of open water estimated to be 30 yards across at points.

According to Chief Deputy Jarrett Walton, after assessing the extent of the open water with visual and drone operations, a narrow spot of the separation was found, and a temporary bridge was deployed to evacuate the stranded fishermen. 

At 2:37 p.m. it was confirmed that everyone requiring evacuation from the ice had been reached and emergency responders cleared the scene.

The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Kelliher Fire and Rescue, Red Lake Nation Fire, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota State Patrol, Blackduck Ambulance, Lake of the Woods Sheriff’s Office and local resorts.  Assets deployed including airboats, water rescue boats, ATVs, drones and a temporary bridge.

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