UPDATE: Coast Guard Mass Rescue on Lake Erie

>I’m pleased to report that we are wrapping up our ice rescue operation on western Lake Erie. Our latest count is 134 people rescued. Unfortunately, today’s events involved one fatality, and our hearts go out to the family of the deceased.

We have completed extensive aerial searches of the ice floes and are confident we have located all of the stranded persons. As of this writing we have received no reports from the public of any persons missing who were out on the ice today. We are going to remain vigilant throughout the night, and I plan to keep an HH-65C helicopter on stand by at Port Clinton, OH, and an extra airboat available at Station Marblehead in case they are needed tonight.

I’m proud of the aggressive, professional response by Sector Detroit and their units; Air Stations Detroit, Traverse City, and Elizabeth City; and all of the local emergency response agencies involved. It was an outstanding team effort by all.

This case is an example of the unpredictability and hazard faced by those who recreate on Great Lakes ice. Today was unseasonably warm, and the winds were from the Southwest at 20-25 knots on the lake. Environmental conditions should always be a part of any pre-event planning for recreation on the Great Lakes.

Our public education efforts have been extensive in this area, and we plan to continue to push on this point.

Semper Paratus!


Following is some raw footage of the rescue operation from one of our HH-65C helos: