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Published: Saturday, 3/22/2014

Coast Guard rescues man stranded on drifting ice around 2:30 a.m.

All terrain vehicle rider on floe offshore from Sterling State Park in Frenchtown Township.


MONROE — A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued an unidentified man early Saturday after he became stranded on a drifting ice floe in Lake Erie.

The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from its Detroit air station and an ice rescue team from Toledo about 2:30 a.m. after watch officers overheard radio communications about an all-terrain vehicle rider on the floe offshore from Sterling State Park in Frenchtown Township.

The watch officers contacted the rider on his cell phone, and learned he wore a full exposure suit but had no other survival gear except his phone and a global-positioning device, according to the report.

The man's position was relayed to the helicopter crew, which found him on an ice floe completely surrounded by open water, hoisted him aboard, and flew him to Custer Airport in Monroe to be met by medical personnel.

The man's identity will not be released, the Coast Guard said. Arrangements will be made to recover his ATV so that it does not become an environmental or safety hazard.

The incident should serve as a reminder to the general public that warming weather means weakening ice, and anyone venturing onto the ice should never do so alone, be dressed properly, and carry safety and emergency tools, including a cell phone or marine-band radio in a waterproof container.

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