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The Nation

February 23, 1988

Helicopters battling high winds and choppy waves plucked 21 people, including four children, from a runaway ice floe as it began to break up on frigid Lake Champlain. The victims had been ice fishing near Charlotte, Vt., when a 2,500-square-foot patch of ice broke loose and drifted into the lake, said Maj. Gen. Don Edwards, head of the Vermont Army National Guard. A Guard helicopter stationed in Burlington made three trips to the floe, while a New York State Police copter made two trips, ferrying victims to the New York side of the lake. Winds gusting to 50 m.p.h. and 3-foot waves complicated the mission. Edwards said the ice floe was breaking up while victims were being pulled into the hovering choppers. None of the victims needed hospitalization.

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