Two teenagers playing near the thawing Lake Michigan got quite a scare when the iceberg they were standing on broke free and began drifting away from shore, leading to a dangerous and frigid rescue.
The teens, ages 17 and 18, were stuck on the tiny piece of ice about 40 yards from shore when a 911 call came into the Racine Fire Department. Three scuba divers had to swim out to the pair, giving them life vests and then pushing the piece of ice back to shore.
The incident took place near the Racine Zoo, which frequent visitors said can be a very difficult spot. In the winter, the ice tends to build up by the shore and it becomes nearly impossible to tell where the beach ends and the lake begins.
As the Boston New Times noted, it was the second icy rescue in the area this week alone. On Thursday, the United States Coast Guard was cutting ice on Lake St. Clair when they found a young man walking across the ice. The nearly frozen man said he was trying to walk from Detroit to Toronto, a walk that would have been several hundred miles and taken him days to complete.
This year Michigan and other Great Lakes states were hit with a frigid air system that left most of the lakes frozen over. The system, called the Siberian Express, brought more than 100 record low temperatures during a single week in February.
“This week ranks among the most intense arctic outbreaks so far in the 21st century for the eastern U.S., and it is certainly one of the most impressively cold air masses we’ve seen this late in the winter season, coming only a month before the spring equinox,” noted Weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.
As the Mail Online explained, last year’s frigid winter may have actually made this year worse.
“One likely explanation for the rapid buildup this month is that 2014’s freeze lasted so long — Lake Superior wasn’t completely ice-free until June — and summer was so mild that the lakes didn’t absorb much heat, he said. ‘So we started this season with below-water temperatures to begin with.’ “
The teens who floated away on the iceberg in Lake Michigan were unharmed, with rescuers able to pull them out of the water about half an hour after they first became trapped.
[Image via Boston New Times]