14 Ice Fishermen Stranded On Saginaw Bay After Ice Turns Unsafe – Updated With Video

On Monday (2/6), the Huron County Sheriff reported 14 ice fishermen stranded on Saginaw Bay. The Huron and Tuscola County sheriffs and the Caseville Fire Department responded and rescued two individuals, while the US Coast Guard retrieved 12 individuals by helicopter.

Airboat Underway - Ice fishermen stranded
Airboat Underway – File Photo

Flow Strands Ice Fishermen On Saginaw Bay

Monday night, shortly after 7:30 p.m., Tuscola and Huron Central Dispatches began receiving calls of ice fishermen on snowmobiles breaking through the ice about 3.5 miles offshore of the Thomas Rd. Marina in Tuscola County. The three agencies coordinated and responded, with the Huron/Tuscola rescue airboat being towed to the scene by members of the Caseville Fire Department. 

Initially, there were unconfirmed reports of as many as 14 fishermen stranded on the ice, with one unaccounted for. The airboat was on the ice about 35 minutes after the first call and was able to locate and recover the missing man who had been in the water, along with another man who also had been and was able to get out. Both were rushed back to an awaiting ambulance, eventually refusing further treatment. 

US Coast Guard Flys In To Assist in Rescue Efforts

(U.S. Coast Guard video by Air Station Detroit)

A US Coast Guard helicopter from the Traverse City air station arrived, flying other stranded fishermen off the ice to the Sebewaing Airport. The Coast Guard reported returning 12 fishermen from the ice flow to awaiting EMS units. 

A private airboat and its crew and the Huron/Tuscola airboat simultaneously brought two people back to the Thomas Rd. Marina. In all, around 14 fishermen were brought back to shore. However, their snowmobiles and equipment remained on the ice overnight. The southerly winds steadily increased during this effort overnight, and gale-force winds expected today will hamper salvage efforts. 

WWJ Radio reported that the rescue came just hours after members of the Coast Guard in Traverse City helped save nearly a dozen people stranded on an ice floe off the shore of Sherwood Point, Wisconsin.

Video: Huron/Tuscola County Air Boat Rescue

Public Safety Response to Ice Fishermen Stranded

The Twitter feed from the US Coast Guard Great Lakes reminds people to be mindful of ice conditions and to check the weather before going out. Falling through the ice can be deadly.

Agencies involved include: Unionville Fire, ACW Ambulance, Medstar Ambulance, Sebewaing Ambulance, Michigan State Police, Sebewaing Police, Tuscola County Dispatch Director Jon Ramirez, and Steve Anderson, who is in charge of emergency management for Tuscola County, also came to help or responded.

Michael Hardy

Michael Hardy is the owner of Thumbwind Publications LLC. Michael was born in Michigan and grew up near Caseville. In 2009 he started this fun-loving site covering Michigan's Upper Thumb. Since then, he has authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 60,000 visitors per month.

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