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At Least 27 People Rescued From Floating Ice Chunk in Wisconsin

A Great Lakes U.S. Coast Guard vessel assists local fire and police in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to help bring ashore ice-fishermen who were stranded on an ice floe that had broken loose, Jan. 8, 2022. (Twitter/@USCGGreatLakes)

Authorities rescued at least 27 people from a floating chunk of ice that broke away from shore in the bay of Green Bay in eastern Wisconsin, the sheriff's office said Sunday.

No injuries were reported in the incident that happened Saturday morning north of Green Bay, in the arm that's part of Lake Michigan, the Brown County Sheriff's Office reported. Many of the people rescued were ice fishing at the time of the incident.

The chunk of ice floated about 1.2 kilometers (three-quarters of a mile) during the rescue and was about 1.6 kilometers (a mile) from the shoreline by the time everyone was brought to solid ground. Authorities said the stranded people were on the separated ice shove for about 90 minutes.

A barge traveling through the bay may have caused the ice chunk to break off the shoreline, the sheriff's office said. Shane Nelson, who was making his first ice fishing excursion, said the noise sounded like somebody had fired a gun.

"We thought it was interesting, got out of our shanty, took a look and people were yelling on the ice, 'We're separating,'" Nelson told WLUK-TV.

Airboats from the Brown County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Coast Guard were able to rescue eight passengers at a time.