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UPDATE: Two separate ice rescues in Cass County

February 17, 2012|By Diane Daniels | WSBT-TV Reporter

As mild as Friday's weather was, it might be hard to believe that ice fishermen would take to the lakes in Michiana.

But that is exactly what happened in Cass County and it made for multiple crisis situations that all unfolded at the same time.

Around 4:30 Friday afternoon emergency rescue calls came in to dispatchers at almost the exact same time

And the problems were the same. Two ice fishermen were stranded on Juno Lake in Porter Township. Those sportsmen were able to make it to safety fairly quickly.

The second emergency was just to the west of Juno Lake on Eagle Lake. It was a case of deja vu all over again.   

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Two ice fisherman from South Bend, stranded, with no way back to shore. 

The men say they went out on the lake around 8 in the morning Friday. But by the time they wanted to head in Friday afternoon they found three channels of open water between them and the shore. They had cell phones with them and called 911. Multiple fire and rescue departments responded, but it was two volunteers from Edwardsburg who got to the men and brought them to safety. 

"I would guess from that sunshine today it opened up pretty fast on them and they didn't realize how thin it was in certain areas," said Rick Briney, one of the rescuers.

Once the men were safely to shore, they did not want to share their names or comments with the media.  However, they did admit that they felt like idiots and they said their ice fishing days for this season are over.

"You just have to watch the ice. If it's open water it's better not to go out fishing. It may be good when you go out, but the sun came out and melted the ice away and they had no way back in," explained Mitch Majewski, one of the Edwardsburg Fire Department volunteers who rescued the duo.

Once the men got on land, their problems didn't end there. When they went to leave in their truck, it wouldn't start and they were stranded again. This time at least they were on dry land.  After getting a jump they finally left the lake access. 

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