brown county sheriff's office/ facebook
Nearly three dozen ice fishermen needed to be rescued this weekend in Wisconsin when the piece of ice they were standing on began floating hundreds of feet from the shore.
According to Fox station WLUK, 34 people were rescued from a chunk of ice that broke off from the shoreline in Green Bay on Saturday morning.
"It sounded like, almost, somebody fired a gun out there," fisherman Shane Nelson told the outlet of the moment the ice separated just after 10 a.m.
"We thought it was interesting, got out of our shanty, took a look and people were yelling on the ice, 'We're separating,'" he added.
After being notified of the incident, the Brown County Sheriff's Office worked with New Franken Fire, Green Bay Fire, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard to save the group, who floated nearly a mile out into the bay, CNN reported.
"I heard reports that the ice had drifted out approximately 2,000 feet from where they originally were, so our iceboat operators indicated that the ice has moved farther each trip that they went back for a rescue," Lt. John Bain told ABC station WLS-TV of the rescue efforts.
Pics of today's ice rescue. Happy to report a good ending to this extremely dangerous situation. Please continue to avoid the ice along the east shore as it has been compromised by barge traffic. pic.twitter.com/NAGEcqppfF
— Brown County Sheriff (@sheriffbc) January 8, 2022
To make matters worse, the chunk of ice beneath the fishermen continued to crack as they drifted further into the bay, the sheriff's office told CNN.
"Although the chunk of ice remained fairly stable, its condition was deteriorating rapidly [and] cracking up as it moved with the open water pounding at the edge of it," they explained.
In a statement, the sheriff said they believed barge traffic through the bay may have weakened the ice.
"The disruption of the ice along with natural occurring conditions may have led to that," Bain told CNN. "The current and the winds, things can change fast, and you're not always aware that they are changing."
Understandably, the group did not have much to return home with following the incident.
"Didn't catch any fish, ran out of propane early and got stranded on the ice," Shane Nelson told WLUK.
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According to the news station, no one was injured or needed medical attention during Saturday's ice escapade.
"Happy to report a good ending to this extremely dangerous situation!" the sheriff's office wrote on social media.