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Helicopters rescue ice fishers from breaking ice

January 26, 1997

BARRIE, Ontario (AP) _ Helicopters rescued scores of people ice fishing Saturday after a frozen lake cracked, opening an 300-foot gap between them and shore.

Blinding snow and winds of 55 mph grounded the helicopters after they lifted at least 220 people and two dogs to safety, leaving an unknown number of others to wait out the night on the ice.

Those still stranded probably could take shelter in heated fishing huts on the ice until the air force helicopters can take to the air again, Constable Glenn Schweyer of York regional police said.

The crack stretched at least 10 miles across Lake Simcoe, about 30 miles north of Toronto.

Although many of those fishing knew nothing of the trouble until they saw the helicopters hovering overhead, others knew instantly they were in jeopardy.

``It’s scary,″ fisher Julius Rose told CKVR-TV. ``I felt the ice shake and then our lines started to travel _ and then cracks developing all over the place out there.″

Provincial police said there were no reports of anyone falling into the water. Sgt. Garry Styles of York Regional Police said a few people suffered mild hypothermia.

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