[QODLink]
Europe

Latvia airlifts hundreds in ice-floe rescue

More than 200 people, mainly ice fishermen, rescued by emergency services after being stranded adrift on two ice floes.

Last Modified: 30 Mar 2013 12:36
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Latvian rescue workers and soldiers have airlifted more than 200 people, mostly ice fishermen, from two ice floes adrift in the Gulf of Riga, officials said.


Viktorija Sembele, rescue services spokeswoman, told the AFP news agency on Saturday that a total of 180 people were rescued at Vakarbulli and 43 at Majori, both towns on the Gulf of Riga, around 1400 GMT.

No injuries were reported.

Helicopters carried up to 20 people at a time off the ice floes, she said.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics used his Facebook page to congratulate the rescue services and army for their "high level of professionalism" in the operation.

A public holiday on Good Friday saw a spike in the number of people engaging in recreational ice fishing, which is hugely popular in the tiny Baltic state.

The season has been especially busy this year because of an unusually cold spring.

But on Thursday authorities began warning of a thaw amid high winds, a combination that creates ice floes and pushes them offshore.

Every year dozens of ice fishermen are rescued and a handful drown when they venture out onto ice too thin to support their weight.

Temperatures in Latvia are expected to remain hovering around freezing over the Easter holiday weekend, increasing the risk for those venturing out on the ice.

Rescue services are advising anyone intending to go ice fishing to have a fully-charged mobile phone kept safe in a waterproof container in case of an emergency.

253

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
As Snowden awaits Russian visa renewal, the world mulls role of NSA and expects more revelations from document trove.
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
join our mailing list