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Lake Michigan Ice Rescue March 2, 2017

On a cold blustery morning at 6:00 A.M. a Brew City Airlines flight took off from General Mitchell International Airport with 75 people on board. Shortly after takeoff the plan experienced engine problems and crashed on the ice in Lake Michigan 10 miles off shore.  Part of the plane broke through the ice and was partially submerged.  Fortunately this was not a real event. It was an exercise, named “Mad Dog on Ice.” Mad Dog is a term used for the type of aircraft, an MD-88, which crashed.  The exercise tested the capabilities of multiple public safety agencies from the military and civilian sectors and demonstrated how all of the agencies can work together collaboratively during a major incident.  

Upon being notified of the “crash” Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan (located on S. Lincoln Memorial Drive in Milwaukee) immediately executed their emergency response plan.  That plan involved Federal, State, municipal and private partners who assisted in the rescue and recovery of the victims.  These agencies included the City of Milwaukee Fire Department dive team and incident command post, the Milwaukee Police Department rescue boat and dive team, Wisconsin DNR Wardens, the Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay from Sturgeon Bay and 2 Coast Guard helicopters from Traverse City Michigan which performed water rescues and transported “patients” to a local hospital.  As part of the scenario, 65 of the 75 passengers and crew were rescued.  

But for the “fact” that 10 of the individuals on the plane (theoretically) lost their lives, the exercise was a success in that it provided experience for emergency responders should they ever need to respond to real incidents. The City of Milwaukee Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security participated in several ways, including serving in an advisory capacity at the incident command post at the Coast Guard Station and coordinating communications between multiple City, County, State and Federal agencies. 

Additional pictures of the exercise can be found on the main website page as part of the photo gallery.