Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Two snowmobilers found after four nights in the arctic tundra of Nunavik

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Temperatures oscillate between -20 and -30 degrees Celsius at this time of year 'year. (Archive photo)

  • Félix Lebel (View profile)Félix Lebel

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The two snowmobilers missing since Sunday near Puvirnituq were found safe and sound Thursday morning, after having spent four entire nights in the freezing tundra near Hudson Bay .

The 19-year-old man was found by rescue teams around 11:30 a.m. Thursday morning, about 20 kilometers from the village of Puvirnituq. He had abandoned his snowmobile and undertaken a long walk to return to his village.

He was able to indicate the position of his companion of 18 years old, which was quickly found afterwards. The young woman did not suffer any apparent injury, but she remains under observation at the Puvirnituq dispensary. As for his companion, he suffered from frostbite on his feet, according to the police.

Around thirty search teams from the villages of Akulivik and Puvirnituq have been mobilized on the ground since Monday to find them. A Twin Otter plane was also flying over the area in the hope of seeing them.

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The man was found about twenty kilometers from Puvirnituq. (File photo)

This is a great relief for the community. Since this morning we have been talking about it on community radio to share the good news. […] When there is a search and rescue situation, the community comes together, explains Puvirnituq search team coordinator, Markusie Kalingo.

The couple set out on Sunday evening to go to the village of Akulivik from Puvirnituq. About a hundred kilometers separate the two villages, which are usually crossed in just a few hours.

However, the two snowmobilers apparently lost their way from the trail, whose tracks were blown away by the snow. They then tried to find him, until they ran out of fuel.

Lost, without survival equipment and without food, they would have managed to make an emergency shelter in the snow.

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They survived with very few resources. […] It shows to what extent they are resilient and strong people, and that they know their territory, explains Jean-François Morin, deputy chief of operations of the Nunavik Police Service.

Temperatures were freezing as usual for this time of year near Hudson Bay. Luckily, no blizzards blew through the region, which could have greatly affected the search.

The Nunavik Police Department reminds residents the importance of always being equipped with a geolocation device when going out into the tundra. It is also important to have the necessary equipment for shelter, warmth and food.

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