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Fishermen -- 675 of them -- rescued from runaway ice floe in Russia

Russian Emergency Ministry / EPA

Crews reach the area in Sakhalin, Russia, where they rescued 675 fishermen.

MOSCOW -- 675 fishermen have quite the story about the one that got away -- the ice floe, not the fish. Turns out they were all on an ice floe along a beach on Sakhalin, an island in Russia's far east, when the floe separated and started taking them out to sea on Sunday.

Within six hours of the first report, emergency services had rescued all 675 using two helicopters, eight ships and a hovercraft in the Sea of Okhotsk.


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.".

None of the rescued ice fishermen required medical treatment.

Ice fishermen routinely get stranded on ice floes in Russia, especially in the spring as the temperatures rise. But Sunday's operation was unusual in the high number that had to be rescued.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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