People in colder climates often look forward to their favorite outdoor activities, ready to dive right in at the first signs of winter. And who can blame them? What could be more fun than skating on a frozen pond or catching a ride on a snowmobile? Ice fishing is yet another great way to enjoy the season.
Unfortunately, weather patterns don’t always cooperate with the calendar. When mother nature has a change of plans, dangerous conditions can arise — especially on ice. Much like a harrowing episode that played out in Minnesota.
Shortly after 11:30 AM on November 28, a 911 call was placed to emergency dispatchers at the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office. Dispatchers learned that a large chunk of ice had broken away from the main shoreline of Upper Red Lake in Northern Beltrami County. About 200 people who came to fish were suddenly adrift in the open water. They would need to be evacuated from the floating ice as safely (and swiftly) as possible. But how?
The emergency response team consisted of many different services, including several water rescue agencies. Through a combination of visual and drone operations, rescuers surveyed the situation and developed a plan. Authorities also issued a wireless emergency alert to warn others of potential danger. It was then time to take action.
According to a press release on Facebook by Chief Deputy Jarett Walton of the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, the clever rescuers used a temporary bridge to close the gap between the floating ice and the main shoreline. Hundreds of people crossed the bridge from peril to safety.
“At 2:37 PM it was determined that everyone requiring evacuation from the ice had been reached and emergency responders cleared the scene,” Jarrett reported. “In total, an estimated 200 individuals were evacuated from the ice.”
Jarrett also shared this crucial advice: “The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office reminds those who are thinking of heading on the ice that early season ice is very unpredictable. Extreme caution should be used when heading on the ice and to check the thickness frequently to ensure an adequate amount of ice.”
Whenever crisis is averted, we honor the importance of first responders. These everyday-heroes risk their lives to protect us. And that’s just one part of a very high stakes job!
Thanks to the efforts of the rescue crews, the incident at Upper Red Lake will be remembered as a miracle instead of a tragedy.
Share this inspirational story with others to thank first responders for their courage and sacrifice!
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