30 Mar 2013

Latvian ice floe strands about 200 people

2:44 pm on 30 March 2013

Latvian rescue services have picked up dozens of people trapped on ice floes that were driven by wind out to the Bay of Riga.

The BBC reports that several vessels took part in the operation, and the army scrambled helicopters to survey the area.

The authorities say about 200 people had been fishing on the ice when the wind started blowing the floes off the coast.

A man trapped on the ice floe said there had been no panic and people had boarded boats to return to safety.

About 180 people had been enjoying the Good Friday public holiday at Vakarbulli beach, when winds and high waves sent the stretch of ice they were on away from the shore into the Gulf of Riga.

Many of them had been ice fishing at the time.

Latvia's VUGD rescue service warned earlier this week of the danger of ice floes being pushed out to sea, because of high winds and the start of the spring thaw.