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Adrift On The Ice

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Bav City, Jlich., Feb. 4.- Fearful was the suffering of 200 fishermeii cast atlrift Monday on au ico floe iu Lake Michigan. The heavy gale from the west loosened the great sheet of ice in the bay, and before the huudreds of fiehermen, who were busily plying their occupation upou it, were aware a vast expanse of fiercely rolling water separated thein from the shore. The weatlier was intensely cold and the wind, which at times reached the violence of a hurricane, cut the face like a whip and chilled the blood in the veins. The men who were on the moving raft of ice seemed doomed to certain death. Few could endure the fearful cold of the night, yid the floating field forced onward by the beating wind could not long withstand the growing might of the heavy seas. Kfforts at Rescue. When the cry was raised that the ice had parted from the sliore and had carried its freiglit of hardy lives out into the stormy lake, the greatest fear was excited, and it was thouabt thivt few, if any, of the cataways would ever be seen again. At once efi'orts were made to lócate the men on their unsafe craft, but rom no point could it be seen. A great sea of I stormy water stretched outward, and the hope that the men could be rescued grew fainter. Relief parties went along the sbore and preparations were ïnade to send out tugs, though the peril of facing the rising waves was enough to appall the bravest. Fishing Through the Ice, Saginaw bay is a great fishing ground in the winter. As soon as the ice has become strong enough hundreds of men build little shanties just large enough for two, and which they cover with tarred paper to keep out the cold and take to the nshing grounds with hand-sleds. Here they usually rernain until the ice becomes unsafe in the spring. Their method of catching flsh is intereting. Their shanties have no Windows, but are placed over a hole cut in the ice. Through this hole a decoy fish is sunk, and the patiënt flsher man sits in his seat, spear iu hand, waiting for the finny tribe to be attracted by his decoy. "Wliere the Danser Comes In. It is seldom that the iisherman misses hi1prey. The greatest danger is in the possibility of an ice floe on which the men are situated being broken up by the winter storms and carrying the men and their shanties out into the open waters of the bay or lake, often never to return. Severa! cases in which lives have been lost and where others have gone through in tense suffering have been known, and many have learned by experience that it pays to be ever on the lookout for this danger. Consequently the city was full of horror Monday when it became known that the ice had broken up on the bay, and the loss of many lives was feared. The Breaking of the Ice. This winter a majority of the fishermen erected their shanties on the east shore of the bay at a point about fitteen miles from the city. The village had reached considerable proportions, numbering over a hundred houses, with a population of nearly twice that number. At 6:30 Monday night, the wind blowing a gale, says Mr. Eurnette, who arrived here yesterday and gave an account of the occurreuce, a gentle movement of the ice was noticed, anda number of theolder and more experienced men abandoned their shanties aud started fortbe shore. The ice soon broke up into huge noes, and these with their living freight were sent rapidly out to sea. For three long hours Mr. Burnette and fourteen couipanions and a horse were driven about on a floe of ice entirely at the mercy of the wind. The Floe Begins Breaking. They then stopped for half an hour, during which time the wind changed to the west, and they began to move toward the shore. By this time the wind was blowing a perfect hurricane. The floe on which the little party was located struck another one and began breakitig, the ice piling up and in places raaching a height of twenty to thirty feet. The men were all crowded into one large shanty, the only one left standing on the ice, where they remained until morning. Keached Sliore in Safety. They tüen started for shore, which appeared to be five or six miles distant. They had gone about two miles when the horse, which was anead, broke through the ice and was extricated with difüculty. Fearing that the ice in the direction in which they were traveling was uusafe they startud in the direction of Big creek, where they at last reached solid ice aud where they found about forty shanties which had been located closcr to the sh ore and escaped the general destruction of the night before. Will Never Forget That Night. A number of narruvv escapes were recorded, but Mr. Burnette thought that all of the inhabitants ot the village had succeeded in reaching the shore. If there were afny who did not escape they were isolated from the maiu village. The horrors of the night will never be forgotten by the little band that clung together on a frail cake of ice so far from shore, aud no inducement could be offered that would tempt theni to again undergo the perils of that awful voyage. l'eai'H lor Igolated Men. There are grave fears for the men in the shanties isolated from the village, many of which were strung along both shores of the bay. It is thought some of these men must have been lost, and the numqer is estimate.l at from tweiity to fifty. It they are on the floating ice they may drift about in the bay lor days without reaching land, but even if the ice floes which they are on do not break up they can scarcely survive more i han a few days.