200 rescued off Upper Red Lake after ice breaks free

People stand out on ice
A view of the Upper Red Lake on Monday after some 200 people were stranded by broken ice.
Courtesy photo

Updated 4 p.m.

More than 200 anglers and others on Upper Red Lake were rescued Monday after the ice they were on broke free, leaving them unable to get back to shore.

The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office said authorities got a 911 call at about 11:30 a.m. asking for help to get people off a “large ice chunk” on Upper Red Lake. First responders found up to 30 yards of open water separated them from the anglers needing rescue.

a small vehicle sits on the ice with a person standing next to it
A view of Upper Red Lake on Monday as authorities rescued some 200 people after the ice they were on broke free.
Beltrami County Sheriff's Office

Authorities initially said more than 100 people needed to be evacuated. In a post just before 4 p.m., however, the sheriff’s office estimated the number at 200.

Several state, local, county and tribal agencies helped in the rescue that included air boats, ATVs, drones and a temporary bridge, the sheriff’s office said, adding that “extreme caution should be used when heading on the ice.”

Ice thickness and wind can be difficult to judge in November. In mid-December 2014, 50 anglers needed to rescued from ice floes on Upper Red Lake.

State natural resources officials caution that ice conditions this time of year can be unpredictable.

Minimum ice thickness guidelines
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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