Dramatic Rescue Saves Two Ice Fishers Near Ashland

By KBJR News 1

January 22, 2011 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM CDT

Ashland, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Two ice fishers are alive tonight after a dramatic rescue near Ashland.

According to the Ashland Fire Department, there was a report of several people who had been ice fishing when chunks of ice broke off and began to float out of the Saxon Harbor.

There was more than 50 people ice fishing when 30 mile per hour winds caused the ice to break up.

All but two people were able to get off the ice despite leaving 3 wheelers, snowmobiles, ice shacks and fishing equipment behind.

AFD responded with their Brush Truck & Ice Angel, Paramedic ambulance and four rescue members led by Lt. Tom Walters to the Saxon Harbor.

Other AFD members include pilot Tim Ciembronowicz, and swimmers Jon Paulson and Rayne Edinger.

The Ice Angel arrived on scene and deployed into the harbor with a known two people still on ice flows in need of rescue.

AFD Ice Angel was met by near white out conditions, stiff NE winds at 30 mph, and water/pack ice chunk/ swells of 8-12 feet.

Rescuers on shore reported they were not able to maintain visual contact with the Ice Angel during the rescue due to the large swells. The Ice Angel responded ¼ to ½ mile off shore and rescued one male on a 4 foot diameter ice chunk, then responded approx. 100 yards away and rescued another male.

One victim was from Saxon and the other was from Hurley.

The names of the victims are not being released by AFD at this time; they were, however, unharmed and dry.

Officials say the conditions were so bad and the visibility was so low that if it wasn't for their rescue efforts, those two men would have died.