Dramatic Rescue of Ice Fishermen on Minnesota Lake

Updated: 02/24/2014 12:43 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

Photo: Photo: Jason Strom

Dozens of ice fishermen were stranded on Upper Red Lake for three days after Thursday's storm was followed by high winds and drifting snow. 

Jason Strom tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "I wasn't sure we were going to make it off the ice alive, it was that scary." Strom says there could have been more than 100 people in about 45 ice houses who were stranded for several days when the drifts, he says, "were almost up and over our ice house - about 4 to 7 feet high at times."

Strom says the ice road was drifted over and the weight of the snow made it nearly impossible for snow plows to break through.

Strom says some younger children and senior citizens were taken off the ice by snowmobiles during the day, but they were 8 miles out on the ice, and once it got dark there was no way anyone could get to them and pull the ice houses to shore.

Strom says the snow was so heavy "it started pushing down on the ice, which cracked in places, and then started flooding the lake and some of the ice houses, too."

He says the rescuers at JR's Resort "were heroes." Strom says "they risked their lives to save us and others by pulling us off the lake to safety."

Listen to an extended interview with Strom here.