Helicopters save 775 Russians trapped on ice drift

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian helicopters rescued 775 fishermen stranded on ice sheets drifting into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.

The men had walked a few kilometers across the ice pack surrounding the remote island of Sakhalin in Russia’s far-east to fish over the ocean, news agencies quoting local emergency services reported.

Ice fishing is a popular hobby in Russia. Groups of men head out over frozen lakes, rivers and seas during the long winters carrying their fishing lines, a drill to bore through the ice and a stool.

Vodka is often taken to ward off the cold and to toast success.

The ice fishermen drill a hole in the ice, dangle their fishing line through it and then sit and wait.

During the spring thaw fishermen are often trapped on chunks of ice floating out to sea or fall into rivers through the thinning ice.

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