Nunavut Edition Headline News

October 2, 1998

NTCL names ship after David Pisurayak Kootook

Taloyoak's hero is honoured again.

Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — The Inuk boy from Taloyoak who gave his life to save downed pilot Martin Hartwell has been honoured by the Northern Transportation Company Limited.

On Sept. 12, NTCL held a special ceremony to rename one of its ships after David Pisurayak Kootook.

In the early 1970s, Kootook, a teenage boy from Taloyoak, was medevacked from Cambridge Bay to Yellowknife for an appendix problem.

However, the plane crashed into a hillside north of Yellowknife. Only Kootook and the pilot, Martin Hartwell, survived the crash.

Hartwell, who had two broken ankles, was unable to walk. Kootook helped keep him alive by fishing at a nearby lake and gathering firewood.

Kootook, however, eventually died of a ruptured appendix. After weeks of clinging to life in sub-zero temperatures, Hartwell was found alive.

Many years later, Kootook was given a posthumous award for bravery.

"Pisurayak Kootook is a true northern hero and it is only fitting that he be recognized with this honour in his own community," Natilikmeot MLA John Ningark said in the legislative assembly last week.

Ningark said that Kootook's mother and family were on hand to christen the vessel at the ceremony in Taloyoak.