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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2007, 14:18 GMT
Russia anglers saved in ice drama
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Hundreds of fishermen have been rescued from ice-floes which began to drift after breaking away from the shore in the Russian Far East.

Boats and helicopters were used to reach the stranded anglers off Sakhalin island in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Dozens had earlier refused to be rescued without their equipment and catches, officials said.

The anglers had been fishing through holes drilled in the ice, a traditional winter pursuit for many Russians.

About a third of Sakhalin is estimated to live off fishing, often carried out in perilous conditions.

'Intoxicated'

Reports say the ice supporting the anglers - said to include women and children - broke free in a number of places in Mordvinov bay, on the south-east coast of Sakhalin. Pushed by strong winds, it began drifting out to sea.

Operations mounted by the Emergencies Ministry rescued all 442 people who were adrift, although about 70 had initially refused to leave without their gear.

One ministry official was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying many of those rescued were in a state of "heavy alcoholic intoxication".

No-one was hurt, reports say.




SEE ALSO
Russian anglers risk icy death
22 Jan 04 |  Europe
Frozen fishing in Russia's Far East
14 Jan 03 |  Media reports
Out on the ice in Russia
05 Mar 00 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Ice fishermen do it again
31 Mar 01 |  Media reports
Russian ice-fishing tragedy
17 Mar 01 |  Europe

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