A search-and-rescue operation is under way after a group of tourists have become stranded in Lancaster Sound, close to the Arctic Bay. The tourists are stuck on an ice floe after the sheet on which they were standing broke loose, reports the Ottawa Citizen.
Here’s what we know so far…
1. There Were 31 Known People Stranded
30 known people were stranded on the ice floe, 12 being indigenous hunters and 19 being tourists, who both managed to become stranded despite being a part of two seperate groups. However, using their superior local knowledge, the hunters were able to escape, but the tourists could not from where they were on the ice floe.
2. The Stranded People Are Near Baffin Island
The tourists are currently located near Baffin Island, which is about 30 kilometers north of Arctic Bay, Nunavut. The chunk of ice they are stranded out floated several kilometers out this Tuesday during high tide.
3. Help from Noire Iqalukjuak Is On The Way
Noire Iqalukjuak, a hunter himself and former mayor of Arctic Bay, is intimately familiar with the area, and is coordinating the search and rescue efforts in the Arctic Bay. According to Igalukjuak, hunting season is underway, which may account for the stranding of the hunters.
“It’s the time of year when everything starts coming back in,” said Iqalukjuak, who listed seals, seagulls, ravens, rabbits, falcons and snow bunting near the mouth of Admiralty Inlet. “Did I mention polar bears?
4. A Rescue Is Currently Being Undertaken
Bringing in the artillery, Iqalukjuak has enlisted a Canadian military Hercules airplane to rescue the stranded tourists. Life rafts have already been dropped and nearby military base Trenton is sending more aircraft to the scene.
5. The Tourists Were Being Guided By Adventure Company ‘Arctic Kingdom’
Arctic Kingdom is an adventure tour group in the area, that takes tourists on icy exhibitions. According to their website, Arctic Kingdom “offer[s] small group scheduled safaris to experience the amazing wildlife, landscapes and culture that the Arctic has to offer.” Unfortunately, Ice Floes are apparently among what the Arctic has to offer, at least in this case.