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Fishermen rescued from Flaming Gorge ice floe

Fishermen rescued from Flaming Gorge ice floe

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ROCK SPRINGS, Wyoming — Six Ogden-area fishermen trapped on a drifting ice floe on Flaming Gorge on Sunday were rescued several hours later.

Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said the men were part of a group on an ice fishing outing on Flaming Gorge at Holmes Crossing, about 24 miles south of Green River. The group had drilled holes through shore ice extending out from the western shoreline. A section of ice roughly 400 feet by 200 feet broke off and drifted east into the lake at midday.

On it were Brian King, David McComb, Matthew L. Smith, Ronald Nistler, Eric E. Mosher, and Christopher Nall, according to a release from Sweetwater County Sheriff's Detective Dick Blust, Jr.

As the floe drifted generally south, several agencies and rescue units began responding, including the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office, the Daggett County Sheriff's Office, Daggett County Search and Rescue, including a team of cold-water divers, the Sweetwater County EMA Boat Rescue Team, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, the Daggett County Emergency Management Agency, and the United States Forest Service.

A craft manned by rescuers from Sweetwater and Daggett counties reached the stranded party in the area of the Brinegar Ranch on the gorge's eastern bank. The group had drifted about a mile and a half down the lake over a period of some three hours. None had suffered any injury.

"This was an extremely dangerous situation for the rescuers as well as the rescued," said Haskell. "The drifting floe could have broken up at any time, and your chance of surviving for long in deep water that cold doesn't amount to much. Under those conditions, the people in the rescue boat were also at risk. There are a whole host of things that can go wrong during this kind of operation, and we're all very glad it turned out the way it did. I have enormous respect for the rescuers — everyone involved has my admiration and my thanks."


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