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1,100 Soviets Rescued From Baltic Ice Floes

January 26, 1987|Associated Press

MOSCOW — Helicopters and icebreakers rescued about 1,100 people from two huge ice floes that cracked off the shoreline under hurricane-force winds and floated out into the Gulf of Riga, a Latvian rescue official said today.

None of those on the floes Sunday, mostly fishermen and their families, were killed or injured, the sea rescue official in Jurmala, Latvia, said.

The official said about 1,100 people had gone onto the ice for weekend ice fishing, a favorite local pastime. The ice extended from the shore into the gulf, which empties into the Baltic Sea.

About 11 a.m., the ice began breaking off as the calm winter day turned blustery and winds began blowing at hurricane force.

Three icebreakers were dispatched, the Latvian official said, along with seven military helicopters and teams from seven local rescue organizations.

Rescue workers found 1,100 people stranded on two adjacent ice floes that were a total of about 2.2 miles long and between 300 yards and about a mile wide.

"They used the icebreakers to push the ice floes back to shore, so some people could just jump off," the official said.

Where that was impossible, helicopters were used to rescue the stranded people, he said.

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