18 people rescued after drifting on ice on Lake Erie near Catawba Island, U.S. Coast Guard says

drifting ice
Posted at 11:24 AM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 11:24:10-05

(WXYZ) — 18 people are safe after being stranded on Lake Erie in Northwest Ohio near Catawba Island.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the ice suddenly broke free forcing the group to drift with nothing but frozen open water around them.

Dramatic aerial footage from above Lake Erie caught the rescue efforts.

"The environment was a challenging aspect," one U.S. Coast Guard said. "In the winter, you have the risk of hypothermia and risk of citizens falling through the ice."

Catawba Island is popular for people on snowmobiles and ATVs, but coast guards are warning people to avoid the ice during this time.

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St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King is issuing the same warning and is reminding people to never go out alone or without checking the ice up close.