223 people rescued from Latvian ice floes

March 29, 2013 at 3:39 PM
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RIGA, Latvia, March 29 (UPI) -- More than 220 people were rescued Friday from two ice floes that broke off the Latvian coast, carrying them into chilly ocean waters, officials say.

All 181 people had been removed from the larger piece of ice, while all but one of the 43 people on the other were taken off by helicopter, CNN reported.

The single person on the smaller floe off the coast of Jurmala was waiting for a boat, officials said.

Rough seas had complicated the rescue efforts by the military, Fire and Rescue Service, National Border Guard and Coast Guard.

One floe was as much as 2 1/2 miles off shore in the Gulf of Riga, TV-Novosti reported.

Winds were reported as very strong and boats involved in the rescue were not intended for open ocean waters.

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