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article imageFishermen back on the ice

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Feb 8, 2009 in Environment
After being rescued Saturday from Lake Erie many fishermen returned to the ice Sunday to retrieve their belongings that were left behind. A few even were back on the dangerous ice to fish for walleye.
Port Clinton, Ohio--In a report by Chris Thangman it was reported that fishermen were trapped on the ice in Lake Erie.
There were 134 rescued and one man died of an apparent heart attack who had fallen into the water. It appeared he had been trying to find a way back to land. After he was pulled back on the ice he collapsed.
Sunday many of the fishermen were back using rented air boats to retrieve the items they were forced to leave behind which included snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.
Petty Officer William Mitchell, a Coast Guard spokesman, said the owners were responsible for recovering their equipment that was on the ice. A Coast Guard helicopter was surveying how much equipment was still on the ice.
Mitchell said of those who were fishing on Sunday, "You'd have to be crazy to do that. That's good to know that they're heeding the warnings, you know. I would definitely not recommend that at all, especially after what just happened. You know it's even warmer today."
Officials did say some of those who had been stranded were just watching while private contractors retrieved all-terrain vehicles and other equipment off the ice.
Officials agreed the rescue went smoothly partly because agencies have trained together. The Coast Guard and local law enforcement officials want to develop means that would stop people from ice fishing when the conditions are not safe.
According to fishing guide Pat Chrysler there could have been many more stranded but the veteran fishermen heeded the warnings that had been issued for the warm temperatures and strong winds.
Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton wants authorities to reconsider when civil penalties are assessed.The current policy is the first time a fishermen is rescued his name is recorded. The second time he has to take an ice safety class, the third time can lead to civil action and fines.
Bratton said although he respects ice fishing the county needs to find a way to cover their financial losses and step up regulation.
Even though the fisherman will not have to cover the cost of their rescue it will cost an estimated $20,000 for the rescue.
"We're not looking to send you a bill at this point," said Harold Stanton, the fire chief in Lucas County's Jerusalem Township. "We're not looking to arrest you."
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