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Armed Forces assists in rescue of hunters stranded in Arctic

The stricken freight canoe is at bottom frame, which suffered an electrical fault leading to four hunters being stranded on an island in the area of Fury and Hecla Straight near Igloolik, Nunavut on Sunday, August 24, 2013.

The stricken freight canoe is at bottom frame, which suffered an electrical fault leading to four hunters being stranded on an island in the area of Fury and Hecla Straight near Igloolik, Nunavut on Sunday, August 24, 2013.

Search and Rescue Spotters, Master-Corporal Paul-Andre Forgues and Sergeant Brad Power from 424 Squadron at 8 Wing, Trenton, Ont., prepare to drop communications and survival kit to four stranded individuals in the area of Fury and Hecla Straight near Igloolik, Nunavut on Sunday, August 25, 2013.

Search and Rescue crew on board a CC-130 Hercules from 424 Squadron based at 8 Wing, Trenton, Ont., prepare a radio before dropping it to enable the stranded hunters establish ground communications.

Search and Rescue crew on board a CC-130 Hercules from 424 Squadron based at 8 Wing, Trenton, Ont., prepare a radio before dropping it to enable the stranded hunters establish ground communications.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), working in close coordination with the RCMP, the Nunavut Emergency Measures Organization, and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) assisted in the rescue of four persons stranded on an island near Igloolik, Nunavut.

“We are happy this effort had a positive outcome,” said Major-General Pierre St-Amand, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, Winnipeg. “We train hard for situations like this, and we value our partnerships in the Canadian search and rescue system.  Through our combined efforts we can be effective when called upon-in every corner of this country.”

In the afternoon of August 24, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Trenton received confirmation from the Government of Nunavut that a 24-foot freighter canoe with four persons on board was missing in the area of Fury and Hecla Straight near Igloolik, Nunavut, and rescue support was required.

A Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130 Hercules from 435 Squadron (Sqn) based at 17 Wing Winnipeg already airborne for an unrelated exercise was tasked to respond, arriving in the area at 9:45 p.m. EDT on August 24.

There was heavy fog in the search area when the CC-130 arrived, and this made it difficult to conduct normal search patterns, but the crew continued to search until 11 p.m. EDT before they had to land in Resolute Bay, Nunavut for the night.

A second CC-130 Hercules from 424 Sqn at 8 Wing Trenton was dispatched by the JRCC Trenton to continue the search. This aircraft arrived at 6 a.m. EDT on Sunday, August 25, and located the stranded individuals at 9 a.m. EDT. The crew dropped a radio to establish verbal communications.

Meanwhile, RCMP in Igloolik launched a boat to attempt a surface rescue, while the CCG ship Pierre Radisson was steaming to the area to assist in the effort.

The RCMP boat reached the stranded vessel at 3:45 p.m. E DT and provided mechanical assistance but despite their best effort, the stricken vessel was unresponsive. The RCMP then embarked the four persons and brought them to safety with the freighter canoe in tow.

The four stranded persons were transiting to a hunting camp on board the freighter canoe when their engine malfunctioned. The men proceeded to a nearby island where they remained stranded.

In Canada, search and rescue (SAR) is a coordinated response that brings all possible assets to bear to save the lives of people lost or injured, often in remote and dangerous locations. While the CAF, with the CCG, coordinates aerial or marine responses, it is not necessarily the primary responder to a SAR event – air and marine resources can come from a spectrum of government and volunteer organizations.

Armed Forces assist in rescue of hunters stranded in Arctic

Armed Forces assist in rescue of hunters stranded in Arctic

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