MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's emergency services rescued 675 fishermen on Sunday from an ice floe that was drifting out to sea in the far east of the country.
None of the rescued ice fishermen required medical treatment, the emergency services on Sakhalin Island said. About half of the 675 fishermen were picked up by helicopters and the others by boat.
The emergency services said it received a report at midday Sunday that an ice floe was drifting into the Sea of Okhotsk with hundreds of fishermen on it. More than six hours later, all had been rescued.
Ice fishermen routinely get stranded on ice floes in Russia, especially in the spring as the temperatures rise. Sunday's operation was unusual only in the high number that had to be rescued.
One of the rescued fishermen, Vladimir Vasilenko, said they should have known better than to go out on such a day.
"Of course the wind was blowing from the shore. We should have thought that something could happen, but people were going and we went as well," he said in a televised interview. "We also heard on the radio that it was the last chance for fishermen, and so we went fishing."