Heard about the 130 stranded ice fishermen saturday?

On Saturday 2/7/09 there were 130 fishermen that got stranded and had to be rescued from lake Erie. One unfortunate man died after falling in, the rest were saved. They were warned not to go out, they all had to cross a 1 foot gap to get onto the ice. By the time some one tried to head for shore, an 8 mile wide piece of ice had separated from the Ohio shore and that 1 foot gap was now 100 feet. These guys had all kinds of equipment like four wheelers, shantys, power augers, fish finders, tackle, not to mention what they had caught. They all had to leave all their equipment when rescued by hydroplane or helicopter. Many were reported to be back today trying to salvage their equipment. Here is my question…

What would the legality be if other people had went and got that stuff. There was a couple hundred thousand dollars of equipment out there or more. I have heard of some maritime law about something being fair game if abandoned at sea, usually a boat or ship, but in this case ice fishing equipment. What is your opinion or knowledge? Sorry the question is so long, but I thought it was an interesting story if you havn’t heard it yet. Thanks in advance to all who answer. I’m going to leave this one up for a while.

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