More than 500 people rescued from drifting ice floes in Siberia

Emergency services in Russia have completed a huge rescue operation to help more than 500 people stuck on drifting pieces of ice.The fishermen and women were stranded when the floe broke loose from the island of Sakhalin in eastern Siberia, which is closer to the United States of America than it is to Moscow.

The operation, which saw 536 people helped on Tuesday, saw a hovercraft used as the piece of ice drifted 200 metres away from where it originated in perilously cold conditions.

It is the third time in a week that emergency services in the Sakhalin region had to rescue ice fishermen and women stuck on drifting glacial masses.

Authorities had to mount a large rescue operation to help the stranded fishers. Credit: AP via Russia Emergency Situations Ministry

Last Wednesday, some 300 people got stranded on an ice floe, and on Sunday 600 more fishers did.

Local authorities blamed the incidents on fishermen ignoring safety warnings and going ice fishing despite the danger of being stranded on ice floes.

Last year, Siberians had to content with 50 roaming polar bears at their front doors as the hungry mammals went in search of food.

Scientists have said the changing climate is pushing them away from their natural habitat and into the realms of humans.