Nunavut Canadian Ranger dies in snowmobile mishap
Donald Anguyoak of Gjoa Haven died Feb. 17 at the start of the "Exercise Polar Passage" for Canadian Rangers
(updated 4:35 p.m.)
A Canadian Ranger Corporal has died during a training exercise near Gjoa Haven, a statement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office confirmed Feb. 19.
Donald Anguyoak, 46, with the Gjoa Haven Ranger Patrol, which is part of the First
Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, died Feb. 17 during a snowmobile accident about 24 kilometres southest of the community.
His death occurred at the the start of the “Exercise Polar Passage,” part of the Canadian Ranger Ocean Watch program monitoring snow and ice conditions along the Northwest Passage.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Corporal Donald Anguyoak, who lost his life in a snowmobile accident during Exercise Polar Passage,” Harper said.
“This is a stark reminder of the very real dangers that the Canadian Rangers and other members of the Canadian Armed Forces face regularly while promoting national security and exercising sovereignty in our harsh northern territories.
“Corporal Anguyoak’s sacrifice in the name of defending his country will be honoured and remembered.”
Sources in Gjoa Haven told Nunatsiaq News that the Rangers were travelling on snowmobiles on their way out of town at the start of the exercise when the fatal incident took place.
As the lead scout, Anguyoak travelled ahead of the rest of the group, when his snowmobile stopped and his sled, which continued to move, hit him on the back.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Corporal Donald Anguyoak at this difficult time,” said Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin, the commander of the Canadian Army. “We remember Donald for his passion about passing his knowledge and skills to the youth of Gjoa Haven through the Junior Canadian Ranger program.”
Governor General David Johnston said in a statement that “my wife, Sharon, and I were saddened to learn of the death of Canadian Ranger Corporal Donald Anguyoak, following a snowmobile accident.
Johnston, who also serves as Canada’s commander-in-chief, praised the Canadian Rangers as “an impressive and dedicated segment of our Canadian Forces.”
“Its members serve an invaluable purpose, defending Canada’s sovereignty in our nation’s most remote areas,” he said. “On behalf of all Canadians, I offer the family, friends and colleagues of Corporal Anguyoak my sympathies on this terrible loss.”
“Corporal Anguyoak has made the ultimate sacrifice for his country,” said Nunavut’s premier Eva Aariak in a statement. “We hope their is some comfort in knowing he was providing an invaluable service to both Nunavummiut and Canadians.”
Terry Audla, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, also issued a statement expressing his condolences to Anguyoak’s family and friends.
“Donald was born and raised in Baker Lake and had recently lived in Gjoa Haven, where he was working proudly as a Ranger. No words can express the sorrow and loss that his family and friends are feeling during this extremely difficult time. On behalf of all Inuit I would like to offer our deepest sympathies.”
The “Exercise Polar Passage” exercise continues until March 3.