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Hundreds of Russian fishermen rescued after becoming stranded on ice floe

Authorities report that it is the third such incident in the area this week.

c414b353-b44f-45ad-90e4-189cdadbf247 Source: PA Images

EMERGENCY SERVICES IN Russia have rescued hundreds of ice fishermen after they became stranded on a giant ice floe that broke off the island of Sakhalin in eastern Siberia.

The operation to save the 536 fishermen lasted almost seven hours, after they became trapped when a gap between the ice floe and the coast grew to over 200 metres wide.

Around 60 more people got back on the shore on their own on Tuesday evening, officials said.

Footage of the incident showed groups of people using smaller pieces of ice as rafts and trying to row to the coast on them, as the ice floe with stranded fishermen slowly drifted further away from land.

It is the third time in a week that emergency services in the Sakhalin region have had to rescue ice fishermen stuck on drifting glacial masses.

On 22 January, about 300 people got stranded on an ice floe, followed by 600 more on Sunday.

Local authorities blamed the incidents on fishermen ignoring safety warnings and going ice fishing despite the danger of being stranded on floes.

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