An Omaha man was among eight hunters rescued from the frozen Missouri River near Santee on Thursday.
The hunters and a dog were rescued by a Nebraska State Patrol helicopter from two boats that had become stranded in the river. No one was injured.
The ice build-up on the river prevented Nebraska Game and Parks officers from reaching the men. The helicopter was able to pull them out, two at a time.
The rescued hunters are identified as Ben Micek of Omaha, Leigh Winterboer, Spencer, Iowa; Bill Lang, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Eric Scranton, Norfolk; Mitch Scranton, Norfolk; Brad Rasmussen, Spencer, Iowa; Colby Kerber, Broken Bow; Matthew Cronk, Scottsdale, Arizona.
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks had received a call for help at 11:30 a.m. Three Nebraska Game and Parks officers, NSP Troop B officers in Norfolk, the Santee Police Department and Bloomfield Fire and Rescue responded.
The hunters said no ice was on the river when they put their boats in at 5:30 or 6 a.m. Thursday. The 18-foot flat-bottom boats were left in the river following the rescue.
Tom Zimmer, Game and Parks law enforcement supervisor for northeast Nebraska, said sportsmen must take precautions outdoors in changing conditions.
"In cold weather conditions, be aware of your surroundings," he said. "The river can ice up very quickly."