Eight stranded ice anglers were helped to safety Thursday afternoon after they were trapped by melting ice on frozen Lake Champlain just off the old spar mines here.

At about 4 p.m., the Essex County 911 Center received a call that the fishermen were stranded on a section of ice surrounded by water. The eight, who were not identified but were Crown Point residents, had been fishing all day during moderate temperatures that turned their piece of ice into a drifting ice floe.

Crown Point firefighters and the Port Henry Fire Department Surface Ice Rescue Team were called to the site, and ladders and inflatable gear were used to bridge the open water and bring the ice anglers back safely at about 4:40 p.m.

There were five adults and three children who were stranded, Crown Point Chief Scott Ingleston said.

"We used an extension ladder, 24 foot long; it just barely made it. The kids we put on an ice rescue sled. The five adults crawled across the ladder."

He said four firefighters put on inflatable ice rescue suits to help the stranded anglers. Life jackets were tossed to all those who were marooned, to put on before the rescue was attempted, Ingeston said.

"They (anglers) got trapped. It's been so warm."

The adults had parked their cars nearby and walked out onto the ice to fish, then couldn't get back to the shore. The spar, or calcite mines, are off Route 9N/22 between Crown Point and Ticonderoga. The portion of Lake Champlain across from the old mines is a popular ice fishing location.

Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said it was fortunate rescuers were able to reach the group and bring them back.

"The fishermen went out, and the ice moved offshore while they were fishing. They were surrounded by water."

He cautioned that ice is unsafe in many areas of the lake, due to moderate temperatures recently.

Email Lohr McKinstry at: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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