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The Nation

February 19, 1989

About 175 people, most of them ice fishermen, were trapped on Lake Erie on a mile-long piece of ice that broke free and floated about a mile offshore before they were rescued, officials said. U.S. Coast Guard helicopters lowered large baskets to pick up some of those stranded. Two civilian boats and Coast Guard craft also aided in the rescue, which took three hours. No one was injured, officials said. Most of the people had been fishing off Catawba Island State Park, about 55 miles west of Cleveland, when the mile-long, quarter-mile-wide stretch of ice cracked and floated free of the shoreline, said Petty Officer Kurt Looser of the Cleveland Coast Guard office. Looser said the average thickness of the ice floe was four to six inches. The ice may have been too thin to support the weight of so many fishermen, officials said.

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