Russia Rescues 536 Fishermen Stranded on Giant Ice Floe

MOSCOW (AP) — In a nearly seven-hour operation, Russia’s emergency services rescued 536 ice fishermen after they got stranded on a giant ice floe that broke off the island of Sakhalin in eastern Siberia, officials said.

Around 60 more people were able to get back onto the shore on their own Tuesday evening, emergency officials said.

Russia’s emergency services rescued 536 ice fishermen after they got stranded on a giant ice floe that tore off the island of Sakhalin in Mordvinov’s Bay, eastern Siberia. The above image shows the fishermen using a smaller piece of ice as a raft Tuesday, trying to row to the coast, as the ice floe with stranded fishermen on them slowly drifted further away from the land. (Russia Emergency Situations Ministry press service via AP)

Footage of the incident showed groups of people using smaller pieces of ice as rafts and trying to row to the Russian coast on them as the giant ice floe with the stranded fishermen slowly drifted further away from the land.

According to some of the Russian fishermen, by the time they had been rescued the frigid water rift between the ice floe and the coast was already 660 feet wide.

It’s the third time in a week that emergency services in the Sakhalin region had to rescue ice fishermen stuck on drifting glacial masses. On Jan. 22, around 300 people got stranded on an ice floe and on Sunday 600 others did.

Local authorities blamed the fishermen for ignoring safety warnings and going ice fishing despite the danger of being stranded on ice floes.

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