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Rescuer services warn fishermen of dangerous “spring” ice


This year ice began to melt in the Leningrad region a month earlier than usual. Such haste of nature urged the Ministry of Emergencies to ban walking on ice from today on.


However, fans of ice fishing traditionally care more about a catch than their own lives and continue testing their luck. Moreover, the candle fish spawning season has begun. So rescuers went to warn these fishermen of a growing risk. Elena Boldysheva reports.

Rescuers make another flight over the water zone of the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladozhskoye. This year ice started to melt a month earlier than usually. The Emergencies Ministry workers know – soon the season of saving ice fishermen’s lives will be open. Chasing fans of ice fishing who were trapped on an ice-cake is one of St. Petersburg’s traditions every spring.

Elena Boldysheva, reporter: “Sometimes fishermen are not happy to see their saviors. Because often the catch and the gear are not allowed onboard - for fears of overloading. That’s when a fisherman’s wit comes into play.

Some elite troops would be envious of how well fishermen have mastered the skill of masking.

Gennadiy Pluschin, helicopter pilot: “We’re hovering and seeing one guy covering himself with a blanket. We get closer and the helicopter blows the blanket away. The rescuer comes down to take him, but he starts running away and tries to save his catch”

One hour of helicopter work costs 120 thousand rubes. But this money is deducted from the city’s budget, not from fishermen’s pockets. However, statistics of negligent ice fishing are getting worse every year. 

Valentin Kim, deputy head of North-West Rescue Center: “This year we have 7 fatalities in the North-Western region. In Russia the death toll stands at 57. It’s difficult to deter fishermen, that’s why we have to organize additional stations and raids”

At temperatures around 0 Celsius, in 72 hours thickness of the ice falls by a quarter. It’s been warm in St. Petersburg for three weeks, so integrity of ice in the Gulf of Finland and around Kronshtadt is far from convincing.

Elena Boldysheva, reporter: “CAD. Dam. This is one of the most popular places for ice fishers. And despite early spring, every weekend hundreds of them come here”

There’s nothing to lure the army of fishermen away from the ice. The candle fish season has started. The North-Western region has already registered 9 cases of machinery falling underwater. Starting from March 3rd, walking on ice is banned in the entire Leningrad region. According to Emergencies Ministry, such measure will become effective in St. Petersburg from March 25th.