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Couple Rescued From Ice Floe off Sweden

Rescued from ice floe

A couple was stranded on an ice floe off the coast of Sweden when an icebreaker fragmented the sheet they were skating on into a quilt of tiny floes.Swedish Maritime Administration - Lifeguard 901

Play with fire and you may get burned. Play on ice and you may get stranded, it seems. 

A Swedish couple was out long-distance ice skating on the frozen waters off the southwestern coast of Sweden when an icebreaker came barreling through, shattering their skating surface into thousands of small floes -- and stranding the couple on a thin layer of ice. 

It was 3 p.m. in the afternoon, meaning the sun would soon set, and their beautiful idyll on the ocean was on the verge of turning into a serious problem, reported Swedish paper Aftonbladet. Fortunately, one of the pair had a cell phone on hand, and called the Coast Guard. 

A helicopter arrived 12 minutes later to rescue them, and also took these photographs of the stunning situation. Coast Guard member Patrik Nilsson was lowered to the floe and pulled the couple to safety, seconds before the waves could convert the fractured quilt of ice between the Mavholmen and Goteborg archipelagoes into a watery grave. 

Only when the couple was safely aboard the Coast Guard copter -- where they could see how far out in the waters they were -- did they begin realize they could have been in serious trouble, said their rescuer. Fortunately, the weather was just right for a rescue.

"The conditions for this kind of operation were optimal, the weather was good -- and the view was pretty good too," said Nilsson. He commended the couple for not trying to leave on their own by jumping ice floe to ice floe, said Aftonbladet

"They did the best they could do, because it wouldn't have taken much to get worse," Nilsson said of the couple in their 30s. They were flown to a local base in the town of Save on Hisingen, an island on southwestern Sweden, where they were checked out. 

The couple then returned safely home -- this time, via taxi.

stranded on ice floe