Advice for ice fishers after about 40 people rescued from ice breakage in the bay of Green Bay

Published: Jan. 9, 2022 at 5:48 PM CST
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SCOTT, Wis. (WBAY) - As we first reported on Action 2 News yesterday, January 8, after the successful massive ice rescue on the bay of Green Bay, about forty people were ice fishing near Point Comfort along the east shoreline. Eventually, they realized they were on a large piece of ice that had cracked and drifted off.

“It’s still not safe,” Lieutenant John Bain with Brown County Sheriff’s Office said. “It is dangerous to go out on the ice on the bay of Green Bay right now.”

Related: 40 people rescued from ice along shore of bay Saturday

News of yesterday’s massive ice rescue didn’t stop people from trekking over the ice and snow to fish on Sunday, January 9. However, one of the fishermen rescued yesterday hopes they are cautious.

“We always joked around about like if it ever happened, it’s unlikely that it maybe does happen to us,” Robert Verhagen, an ice fisherman rescued Saturday in the bay of Green Bay, shared.

The ice shove traveled about 3/4 of a mile out into the bay as rescue crews tried to bring them back.

“There are people on the other side yelling ‘you’ve got to get over quick you’re breaking off,’” Verhagen remembered. “There was already a 10-foot gap there so it’s just like, well, we thought about just staying out there and fishing, but then you’re like we have to pack up, get ready, and be prepared to get rescued from service personnel.”

Five rescue agencies responded and no one was injured.

“We need a significant amount of equipment, especially the ice boats,” Lt. Bain emphasized. “They are a huge advantage for our department and the other departments.”

From the time Verhagen and his fellow ice fishers realized they had broken off, it took a little less than two hours to get rescued. Verhagen said he’s excited to get back out on the ice soon, but has some added experience this time around.

“Avoid that spot on the south wind,” Verhagen advised. “That’s when it will push you off like that. If it breaks off.”

“We’re definitely asking that people avoid that area and use caution,” Lt. Bain highlighted.

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