Two hundred rescued off the ice in Gulf of Riga | News | DW | 29.03.2013
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Two hundred rescued off the ice in Gulf of Riga

Fire and rescue services in Latvia have rescued more than 200 people stranded on ice floes in the Gulf of Riga. Bad weather conditions and high waves hampered rescue efforts.

About 180 people, mostly fishermen, were rescued Friday from a floe off the town of Vakarbull. A further 40 people were taken off the ice near the seaside resort of Jurmala.

The State Fire and Rescue Service used boats, ships and helicopters in a three hour operation according to a rescue service spokeswoman. High winds and waves made the rescue difficult. A number of the boats involved in the rescue were designed only for inland waters, not the sea.

The ice had drifted in the strong winds about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the shore by the end of the operation, the spokeswoman added. Only one person needed medical attention, Latvian Public Radio said.

The Latvian Emergency Ministry has urged people not to walk on ice.

jm/dr (AP, Reuters)