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Beltrami County recounts second ice rescue

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The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, along with Kelliher Fire and Rescue and Bemidji Fire Department, responded to a call for assistance to two stranded fisherman on Upper Red Lake off the south shore near Rogers Campground at 1:02 p.m. Tuesday, December 6, 2011 (approximately 48 miles north of Bemidji). Once again, a wind out of the south caused the ice to shift and created a 100' strip of water between the shoreline and the fishermen. As rescuers responded, the fishermen were able to gather their gear (to include a 4 wheeler and trailer) and head in a northeasterly direction looking for solid ice to enable getting to shore safely. There was no cell phone connection to the subjects but fortunately a person that was on shore spotted this emergency and called the Beltrami County Sheriff's 911 Communications Center and provided "eyes on" reporting. Responders gathered at several locations along the east shore with emergency lights on to provide a direction for the fishermen. Two members of the Kelliher Fire Department were able to walk out onto solid ice, assist the fishermen with their equipment across a crack in the ice, and lead them to safety. Fortunately, no one was injured and the fishermen, from the St. Cloud area, were returned to their vehicles at a location approximately 3 miles from where the incident started.

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Jeffrey Theisen, 45, of Sauk Rapids, Wayne Secord, 46, of St. Cloud and Donald Bollig, 60, of St. Joseph were rescued.

Assisting with this effort were the Blackduck Ambulance, Kelliher Fire and Rescue, Kelliher First Responders, Bemidji Fire Department and the Beltrami County Sheriff's deputies along with West Wind Resort and Roger's Campground.

The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office reminds ice fisherman that the winds Upper Red Lake has experienced recently can cause a dangerous situation with ice in a matter of minutes. The forecast tonight is for winds out of the south at 40 miles per hour. Wind at that speed especially causes a lot of wave action which in turn degrades the ice. Do not venture onto the ice unless you check with the local resort owners and others who live in the area. They have the best up to date information on the current safe status of the lake. Use caution and do not put yourself in danger.

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