Wisconsin man helps rescue fishermen stranded on Lake Erie ice

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CATAWBA ISLAND, Ohio (WTVG) — Bob Michaels has wanted to ice fish on Lake Erie for six or seven years. This year, Bob says he and his buddy were finally able to make the trip from La Crosse, WI, to Curtice, OH.

“So, we packed up and made the trip, but the timing was bad,” Bob said in a Zoom interview after returning to Wisconsin.

On the third day of his trip, the ice on Lake Erie broke up and left more than a dozen ice fishermen stranded. Bob was on his airboat when he says a member of the US Coast Guard abseiled from a helicopter and asked him for help.

“Then he asked if we would help save guys off the ice, and I said absolutely. It’s just the right thing to do, you know,” Bob said.

Bob, a 62 year old retired carpenter, made several trips and brought back 10 fishermen and their gear.

“Their shacks, their ice augers, their gear,” he said. “A lot, I mean, this stuff is really valuable and expensive, you know? I took the gear and one or two guys at a time across the open water and then across and I got them transported to the landing stage. You know, of course, the fire brigade and the coast guard and everyone was waiting to make sure everything was okay.

On Monday, February 7, 2022, many of these anglers returned to the shores of Lake Erie where they hired Rescue Marine to retrieve their ATVs and snowmobiles. Meanwhile, Bob says he only caught three fish on his trip, but the friendly people he met made it worth it.

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