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Drunk Fishermen Rescued From Ice Floes


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Drunk fishermen rescued from ice floes

MORE than 200 fishermen, many of them drunk, were rescued today from ice floes off the island of Sakhalin in eastern Russia after a massive ice sheet broke from the shore.

Around 100 fishermen remained stranded but were being plucked from the melting ice in the Sea of Okhotsk by helicopters and boats, an official from the emergency situations ministry told AFP.

Many of the fishermen rescued from the ice floes were in a state of "heavy alcoholic intoxication'', said a ministry official cited by the Interfax news agency.

Despite repeated warnings from the authorities of the risks involved, particularly during this year's unusually mild winter in Russia, fishing through holes drilled in the ice remains a time-honoured tradition.

Practitioners, often fortified with a supply of strong alcohol and armed with heavy gear, including drills, rods and nets, often stray far from the shore in search of favourable fishing.

Sakhalin is a forested island with massive oil and gas reserves just north of Japan, where around a third of the population is estimated to live off fishing.

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