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Hundreds of fishermen rescued from giant ice floe

World News | Published:

The rescue operation off the island of Sakhalin in eastern Siberia lasted almost seven hours.

Fishermen trying to row to the coast

Russia’s emergency services have rescued 536 ice fishermen after they got stranded on a giant ice floe that broke off the island of Sakhalin in eastern Siberia, officials said.

Around 60 more people got back on the shore on their own on Tuesday evening, emergency officials said.

The rescue operation lasted almost seven hours.

Russia Ice Fishermen
These two fishermen used a smaller piece of ice as a raft (Russia Emergency Situations Ministry press service/AP)

Footage of the incident showed groups of people using smaller pieces of ice as rafts and trying to row to the coast on them, as the ice floe with stranded fishermen slowly drifted further away from land.

According to some of the fishermen, by the time they had been rescued the gap between the ice floe and the coast was already 200 metres wide.

It is the third time in a week that emergency services in the Sakhalin region have had to rescue ice fishermen stuck on drifting glacial masses.

On January 22, about 300 people got stranded on an ice floe, followed by 600 more on Sunday.

Local authorities blamed the incidents on fishermen ignoring safety warnings and going ice fishing despite the danger of being stranded on floes.

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