06/07/2017 06:28 EDT | Updated 06/07/2017 06:29 EDT

Newfoundland Ice Traps Boats, Prompting Helicopter Rescue For 5 Fishermen

Multiple boats were trapped.


Thick Arctic pack ice has trapped multiple vessels and triggered a high-stakes rescue operation from a sinking ship off Newfoundland.

Five fishermen were rescued Wednesday from the Avalon Princess fishing boat, which started to take on water after getting caught in heavy sea ice near La Scie, N.L.

Trevor Hodgson, the Canadian Coast Guard's superintendent of ice operations for the Atlantic region, said the heavy ice is more than two metres thick in some areas off Newfoundland's northeast coast.

Conditions are so bad, icebreaker can't free vessels

He said ice conditions are so bad the Coast Guard has been unable to free trapped vessels with its icebreaker Amundsen.

Alex Roy, a naval cadet with the military's Joint Task Force Atlantic, said a Cormorant helicopter from the 103 Search and Rescue Squadron at 9 Wing Gander was in the air on a training mission and assisted the fishing boat at around 11 a.m.

He said all five fishermen were airlifted to safety by about 2 p.m. and did not require medical attention.