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Cass County crews respond to two ice rescues at two separate lakes

CASS COUNTY, Mich. – Two pairs of people had to be rescued from Eagle and Juno Lakes just east of Edwardsburg on Friday afternoon after braving the nearly 50-degree temperatures to go ice fishing.

The Porter Township Fire Department responded to the call on Juno Lake, but according to officials on scene the two people who’d been trapped on the ice on the lake had made their way to safety by the time crews arrived.

But, the two South Bend men who were trapped on the ice in the middle of Eagle Lake had to be rescued by Edwardsburg fire crews.

“We had two guys that were caught out in the middle of the lake, the ice had obviously melted away in certain areas,” explained Rick Briney of the Edwardsburg Fire Department.  “We had to go across three open spots of water to get out to them.”

Briney said he believed that the men had been fishing earlier in the day and had been trapped when thinner ice melted away.

“I would guess from that sunshine today, it probably opened up pretty fast on them,” he said.  “They probably didn’t realize how thin it was in those certain areas.”

Briney estimated the ice on the lake was two to three-inches thick.  But, he described it as weak “honeycomb” ice.

The two men never fell through the ice; the rescuers pulled a boat out to them and brought them safely back to shore.  The first responders who had rescued them hoped they, and other ice fishers, had learned a lesson.

"Just got to watch the ice,” explained Mitch Majewski, also with the Edwardsburg Fire Department.  “I mean it may be good ice when you go out but like the instance today, sun came out and melted it away and they had no way back in."

Both men were examined by paramedics but we released at the scene.  The pair caught on Juno Lake are also reported to be safe.

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