Arviat fishermen found dead after apparent boating accident
“It appears as though they hit a shallow part of a reef or sand bar”
Arviat residents Jobe Nibgoarsi, 48, and Eric Qiyuaryuk, 49, were found dead from drowning along the shoreline in Hudson Bay, Aug. 9, the apparent victims of a boating accident some 50 kilometres north of their community, RCMP said.
The two men died while travelling together by boat in the early evening in waters around Sandy Point, an area between the hamlet of Arviat and Whale Cove, where they had gone to tend to some fishing nets.
Nibgoarsi and Qiyuaryuk were in regular contact via CB radio with a third boater who had set out with them from the hamlet in a separate boat, according to police in Arviat.
Radio contact with the two men suddenly ceased around 5 p.m., after the pair had travelled further north to shallower shoreline areas, said RCMP Const. Dan Wakelin of the Arviat detachment.
The third boater, also an Arviat resident, found the drowned men’s bodies almost within an hour of his last conversation with them, and their damaged boat nearby, Wakelin told Nunatsiaq News Aug. 11.
Another fisherman alerted to the scene via radio helped take their bodies ashore, he said.
Police in Arviat received a call about the deaths just before 7 p.m.
“A group of us [RCMP] went out to pick up the bodies and the boat, and travel back,” Wakelin said.
“It appears as though they hit a shallow part of a reef or sand bar, something like that. And both were tossed out of the boat and then subsequently drowned,” he said.
The men’s bodies were returned to their families by Aug. 11, Wakelin told Nunatsiaq News that afternoon.
“We’re just gathering statements right now,” he said. “We’re piecing everything together so we can figure out what happened.”
Police are not considering the deaths suspicious, he said.
“It appears to be a boating accident,” confirmed Sgt. Yvonne Niego, spokesperson for Nunavut RCMP, adding that police are completing their report with the Nunavut coroner’s office without autopsies.