Busy weekend for U.S. Coast Guard - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Busy weekend for U.S. Coast Guard

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(02/11/13) - The up and down weather created a busy weekend for the Coast Guard.

In all, 16 people were rescued from the ice and water of Saginaw Bay, and it appeared another rescue would be needed Monday. It's another reminder that people have to use caution on the ice.

The rescue call the Coast Guard responded to Monday morning was a false alarm, but even false alarms can be costly and dangerous.

"The logistics can be complicated," said Don Hamilton, of the U.S. Coast Guard.

A Coast Guard helicopter from Detroit was called up to help in a possible rescue of two people stranded on ice floe in Saginaw Bay. Several emergency responders were on the shore near Killarney Beach.

Mike Royer, of the Bangor Township Fire Department, has been busy with similar rescue calls over the past few days.

"Last week or so, we've had four or five," he said.

No rescue was needed this time, as the stranded snowmobiles and other equipment seen on the ice floes were the remnants of what was a busy weekend.

Coast Guard video shows a rescue from Friday night on Saginaw Bay. In two separate incidents, five men were rescued. Then on Sunday, 10 more people were rescued from the Bay.

"Weather changed, ice conditions did not become as favorable as they were, people falling through the ice, snowmobiles falling through the ice, their ATV's falling through the ice," Hamilton said.

Even with this false alarm, local emergency responders are called in, at an extra cost to area townships.

"Usually, it's quite a bit of manpower we need, because we have to put the boat, get it onto the ice, and as you can see where this one was located, we are thinking a mile out," Royer said.

The Coast Guard reminds everyone to monitor weather conditions before venturing out on the ice, have proper clothing and equipment, and also remember this:

"No matter how cold it is, or how long that ice has been out there, no ice is safe ice," Hamilton said.

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