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Latvia: The ice men cometh

Latvia: The ice men cometh
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There has been a major rescue effort in the Baltic Sea to save more than 220 people who were stranded on ice floes that had drifted away from the Latvian coast.

Most of those rescued were fishing on the ice, which is a popular pastime in Baltic countries.

Spring sunshine had thinned the ice considerably.

One rescued fisherman described how he ran for 10 minutes to reach the main group, otherwise he said he could have floated anywhere.

Strong winds had blown the ice floes up to four kilometres from the shore into the Gulf of Riga.

Latvia’s Fire and Rescue service scrambled boats and helicopters for the operation that lasted more than three hours.

Several people drown every winter in the Baltic while ice-fishing and many more are rescued when the ice breaks.

In this latest mass rescue only one person was reported to have needed medical attention.