Ice Path Cleared to Tangier Island - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ice Path Cleared to Tangier Island

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CRISFIELD, Md. -- The day finally came for a path to be cleared to Tangier Island, Va. and for several stranded islanders to return home on Saturday.

The six people had been stranded in Crisfield, Md. for most of the week due to the thick sheet of ice still blanketing the Chesapeake Bay after a recent winter storm's sub-zero temperatures froze the waters.

It was a huge sigh of relief for the straned islanders to know they would be back home before the day was out. And relief also came for those who had been stranded on Tangier with a dwindling amount of food and essential supplies.

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to help deliver groceries, mail and animal supplies.

For Melinda Cooper, it had been a rough few days since she had to take care of her mother who suffered a hernia back on Tangier. They were able to get Medevaced off the island on Feb. 18 to see a doctor in Crisfield.

"The doctors told me after her surgery if it had been two more hours she would've been dead," said Cooper.

Now that her mother's on the mend, Melinda is grateful to be going home.

“She's doing a lot better than she was on Wednesday. We have the coast guard and our lovely mayor to thank for that," she said.

Captain of the ice breaker ship, Eddie Somers said it could take hours to cut through the ice that's 8 to 12 inches thick.

"It's heavy,” said Capt. Somers. “It'll probably take us an hour, hour and a half to get out here and hopefully in a perfect world, a couple hours to get from there."

It was a daunting mission but one that needed to be done to break through to Tangier.

The Coast Guard said they haven't needed to make a mission such as this to Tangier in the last few years. But this winter's arctic cold front made boat and air travel to the island much more difficult.

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