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Five Plucked From Icy Lake

An afternoon of ice fishing turned into a treacherous rescue mission Tuesday that ended with a Coast Guard helicopter saving five people, including two rescuers, who had been thrown into an icy lake.

The Coast Guard was called to Metro Beach, about 25 miles north of Detroit, after 18 ice fishermen became trapped on an ice floe that broke off in Lake St. Clair.

CBS News Correspondent Drew Levinson reports most of those stranded were rescued, but a Hovercraft boat, carrying two rescuers and the last three stranded fishermen, lost power and went down in the lake. High winds turned it over, dumping all onboard in the freezing waters.

"My concern was to keep the people that we were rescuing on the boat until we got them on ice and we all bailed out," said rescue worker Steven Greiner.


Rescuer Steven Greiner
The boat capsized about 7:50 p.m. in winds that were gusting to more than 30 mph.

"The Hovercraft just stays above the surface; it's not designed to be in three-foot seas," Coast Guard Petty Officer David Sapp said.

The Coast Guard said that eight people were rescued by boat, two originally by helicopter and three more by helicopter after the Ira Township Hovercraft turned over.

Four people were brought to Mount Clemens General Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Sara Brown said. All were treated and released, one for an injured ankle and three for hypothermia.

Two more ice fishermen were rescued from an ice floe further north on Lake St. Clair's Anchor Bay.

"It's way too early in the season for this. This is far from safe ice," Harrison Township Fire Capt. Robert Knapp said.

The fishermen were about a quarter-mile off the shore of Metro Beach, when a 500-foot long section of ice broke off. By 7:30 p.m., the floe was about 1.5 miles off shore, Knapp said.

Mark Linville was on the ice floe when he heard the ice crack. He said he quickly scooped up the two fish he had caught and began heading to shore when the ice broke away about 6 feet behind him.

"Every time I turned around they were farther and farther away," said Linville.