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Russian Crews Rescue Hundreds Of Fishermen Stranded On Ice Floe

Two fishermen use a smaller piece of ice as a raft and try to row to land in Mordvinov Bay off Sakhalin Island on January 28.

Russian crews have successfully rescued 536 ice fishermen who were stranded on a massive ice pack off the Far Eastern island of Sakhalin, officials say.

Emergency crews said on January 29 that the rescue operation lasted nearly seven hours.

They said at least 60 people had previously been able to get back to shore on their own the night before.

The fishermen were on an ice pack in Mordvinov Bay, off of Sakhalin Island, about 2 kilometers from shore, state-run TASS news agency reported.

Twice previously this week, emergency crews in the Sakhalin region had to rescue ice fishermen stuck on drifting ice floes.

On January 22, they rescued some 300 people who were stranded on an ice floe, and about 600 others on January 26.

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

Based on reporting by AP and dpa