UPPER RED LAKE, Minn. (FOX 9) - Thirty-five people had to be rescued Sunday evening after ice broke away from the shore of Upper Red Lake, north of Bemidji.
Beltrami County officials say strong winds caused the ice to shift, sparking the rescue efforts, at around 4:47 p.m. on Dec. 17. Numerous people became stranded on an ice chunk detached from the shore of Upper Red Lake. Initial reports indicated about 40-50 people were stranded, and the ice had approximately 40-50 feet of open water separating it from the main ice that was still connected to the shore.
Authorities used an airboat to evacuate the stranded people from the ice. Shortly after 8 p.m., all 35 people were back on shore, authorities said.
"During the rescue, strong winds further blew the ice chunk and the separation grew to a couple hundred feet," authorities said.
County officials say, unfortunately, situations like this are common events for responders in Beltrami County.
"We thank all of the many dedicated emergency responders who are yet again assisting fishermen stranded on Upper Red Lake," writes Beltrami County Public Information Officer Christopher Muller. "Upper Red Lake is a very popular fishing destination, frequently utilized before ice is stable resulting in the need to rescue people either from falling through the ice or floating on ice floats."
No injuries were reported and no one fell in the lake, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office said.