Coast guard helicopter assists in rescue of fishermen caught in ice

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GRAND HAVEN, Mich- Two men were rescued Saturday afternoon with assistance from a coast guard helicopter after their boat became stuck in ice.

The men were fishing near the mouth of Lake Macatawa Saturday morning when their boat became lodged between areas of ice that were shifting due to strong winds.  Their boat was about a mile and a half off-shore when they called 911 for help around 10 a.m.

The coast guard dispatched both water and air crews to facilitate a rescue.

Boat crews were not able to reach the men because of the dense ice surrounding their boat.  A helicopter team made it above the men around 11 a.m.  The air crew decided against lifting the men directly from the boat to their copter, worried the force from their rotors would capsize the vessel- noting it was surrounded by ice chunks that were 20-30 feet wide and two feet thick.

They soon established that the force from the helicopter’s rotors was slowly moving the ice away from the boat.

The crew continued to hover their helicopter 50-80 feet above the men’s boat for about 45 minutes, eventually creating an open path for the men to maneuver their boat out of the ice and back to shore.

Both men made it back to shore and did not require medical condition.

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