NEW FRANKEN - It was a close call for eight ice fishermen after they found themselves adrift on Green Bay Monday morning until Brown County and Coast Guard rescuers could get to them.
It happened off shore from Brown County's Bay Shore Park just before 10:00 a.m.
Several ice floes broke free, leaving the men with no safe way back to shore.
Rescuers say strong wind and the mild temperature may be to blame.
Ice rescue boats delivered the men to shore.
Ron Hazaert was one of them.
"We were only out like 100 yards, before we knew, it separated, and the wind pushed the chunk out. There was no way of getting off," said Ron Hazaert, rescued ice fisherman.
The men were heading away from shore after two chunks of ice broke free.
"There was seven on that big chunk. We just kind of all got together. There was eight inches of ice where we were fishing, but the wind just pushed it out," said Hazaert.
"When the warm weather comes up, and the wind comes up and there's an awful lot of open water in the bay, so where the wind was blowing, that's where the ice shelf is going to go," said Lt. Steve Perry, Brown County Sheriff's Office.
A few miles to the north, ice boats from the U.S. Coast Guard and Brown County Sheriff's Office launched at Red River County Park.
Early reports indicated as many as 16 people trapped. Two men were able to jump the crack on the small ice berg and walk safely to shore.
Eight others got an air-powered escort.
"They just told us to leave our gear there, and jump on board," said Hazaert.
"The Coast Guard rescued two people, and took those two people to Brown County Bay Shore Park. Our ice boat rescued four in one trip and two in an other," said Perry.
No one was hurt in the rescue.
The fishermen were a little shaken, but happy to be off the ice.
"I think anybody who goes ice fishing, knows there's gambling time, any chance you go out ice fishing," said Hazaert.
Officials say with the temperatures warming up, it is not recommended to venture out onto the ice.
If you do, they say take a cell phone, warm clothes, and another person in case there is trouble.
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