Caught on Video: Six fisherman rescued from Saginaw Bay - WNEM TV 5

Caught on Video: Six fisherman rescued from Saginaw Bay

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Courtesy: Loren Sztajer Courtesy: Loren Sztajer
Courtesy: Loren Sztajer Courtesy: Loren Sztajer

A stretch of unseasonably mild weather is blamed for a close call for a group of fisherman who became stranded on the Saginaw Bay.

The ice they were on broke away from shore and the danger grew with each minute as the ice continued to pull away.

“We saw the water. We saw the ground moving under us so we were like ‘Oh!’” David Sian said.

Sian recounts the terrifying moment when the ice patch he was fishing on broke away and sailed out into the open waters of the Saginaw Bay.

“The crack was probably 30 feet wide and then within the next five minutes the crack had opened up to a 500-yard span,” Sian said.

Video of the incident shows just how far away the ice barge is from shore.

Six fisherman were stranded until rescuers from the Kawakalin Fire Department and the Coast Guard showed up.

“Wasn't too bad when I knew someone was coming to get us but before that it was a little scary,” said Joshua Johnson, another fisherman stranded.  

Rob Delong, one of the six men rescued, said he’s been fishing at the same location for the past few weeks.

However, the warmer temperatures and high winds created a potentially deadly situation for these men.
“Everything was going good until that wind picked up 40 miles per hour, I was the furthest out and 20 guys made it off but six of us were stranded on the ice,” Delong said.

The fire department and Coast Guard were able to rescue all six men, but not before many of them learned a valuable lesson.

“Like they say, no ice is safe ice, they ain't lyin,” Sian said.

Some of the rescue team said they wish the fishermen had accounted for the weather conditions before heading out.

“People are going to fish if they want to fish. I can't tell them they can't, but I recommend they don't especially with the open water and strong winds we've had this year,” Captain David Randall said.

As the ice fishermen pulled their gear back to shore many were thankful to be alive. Some said they won't be back on the ice Friday.

“I think I’ll be going to the turkey roost tomorrow instead of going fishin'!” Delong said.

The Coast Guard always urges extreme caution when heading out on the ice.

If you do head out, it recommends avoiding cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas. 

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