GPS Technology Helps in Lake Ice Rescue After Fishing Trip Goes Bad!
Fishing Trip Ice Rescue-CLEVELAND - Cell phones, night-vision goggles and a satellite tracking system are being credited with helping save the lives of 14 fishermen who were stranded on ice in Lake Erie. The Coast Guard was able to more easily find the men because they had a global positioning system receiver, which allowed rescuers to track a satellite signal to the location of the fishing trip.
The guard's goggles allowed them to see 5 miles ahead in the twilight and the men had used their cellular phones to call for help Sunday when the ice floe broke loose during their fishing trip northwest of Catawba Island.
"This group on the ice fishing trip did everything right," said Mark Butts, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot and the commanding officer at Air Station Detroit.
Everyone was back on land within two hours. No one was injured.
The guard warns people to stay off the lake ice but still 50 to 100 people are rescued each year from ice floes on the Great Lakes during fishng trips, said Jerry Popiel, chief of the command center section in the Coast Guard's Ninth District.
Most of the ice rescues occur on western Lake Erie.
The annual cost of such rescues was not available, but Sunday's operation cost $16,300.
Butts rescued 10 of the men on the fishing trip by shuttling them to land in three trips.
The four other men, who live on Put-in-Bay and were snowmobiling, were brought back to the island on an airboat, along with their snowmobiles.
"Thank God for the Coast Guard," said Linda Neill, whose husband was among the rescued.
One of the rescued fishermen, Kim Neill of Bellevue, said he was grateful for the five-minute flight to shore.
"It was an amazing ride," he said.
Neill has been using his global positioning system for about four years. He also carries a cellular phone and wears a flotation suit udring fishing trips.
On Tuesday, Neill, 42, planned to return to the ice with an airboat to recover his four-wheeler, two shanties and fishing gear.
If conditions are right, Neill said he would go on another ice fishing trip in the same location this weekend.
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