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NEW FRANKEN, Wis. - Eight fishermen were back on solid ground Monday afternoon, a far cry from hours earlier when they were rescued after being stranded on drifting ice just off Bay Shore Park beach in northeastern Brown County.
One of the fishermen used a cell phone at 9:23 a.m. to report he was on a broken ice chunk in the bay of Green Bay, Brown County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Perry said.
The U.S. Coast Guard and New Franken firefighters also responded and set up operations at Red River Park in Kewaunee County, which is about four miles northeast of Bay Shore Park.
Temperatures were near 25 degrees and a total of eight fisherman were found on two separate portions of ice that likely were pushed away by strong winds from the south.
One fisherman was on a large portion of ice about three-quarters of a mile from the shore, while the remaining seven were on an even larger ice chunk about a mile away.
Two other fisherman jumped over a crack in the ice before authorities arrived and continued fishing, officers said.
By 11 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard had rescued two fisherman with an airboat that can travel on ice and water, while the Brown County Sheriff's Department rescued six others with a similar boat. No one was reported injured and authorities warned people about going on the ice.
Ron Hazaert of Green Bay said he was fishing alone for whitefish when he heard a cracking sound. About 20 minutes later, he saw the ice had separated. During the rescue, the fishermen were told to leave their belongings on the ice, he said.
"This isn't going to stop me from fishing," he added.
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