**Updated** MV Highlanders ferry stuck in ice off Cape Breton freed, Marine Atlantic says

**Updated at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday**

A Marine Atlantic ferry that became stuck in thick ice off Cape Breton has been freed.

Earlier in the day, the MV Blue Puttees left Port aux Basques, N.L., to try to cut a path for the MV Highlanders to get out into open water.

In a tweet Tuesday evening, Marine Atlantic says MV Blue Puttees reached the stranded ferry with 209 passengers onboard along with 85 commercial trucks and 65 vehicles.

MV Highlanders got stuck after leaving North Sydney, N.S., for Newfoundland.

Spokesman Darrell Mercer says ice conditions suddenly became worse Tuesday as winds blew toward the coast.

The worst ice conditions in decades saw major disruptions in 2015, including some similar incidents.