After two weeks of searching, hopes fade for missing Arviat hunter
Young man left the community alone Oct. 8; no trace yet found
ARVIAT — The chances of finding a missing Arviat hunter are growing slim as the community prepares to call off a two week-long search.
William Kinniksie is believed to have left the community by all-terrain vehicle alone on Oct. 8, heading north of Arviat to hunt caribou.
“He was only supposed to be out for a day, and he didn’t take many supplies with him,” said Thomas Alikaswa, the search and rescue coordinator.
Family members of the young man say he would have carried only a thermos and a tarp.
Poor weather conditions meant that search and rescue teams were unable to look for Kinniksie during the crucial first two days after he went missing.
Search teams have been going out by all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile every day since, searching an area about 50 kilometres north of Arviat.
An aircraft joined the search Oct. 15, while community events and raffles raised thousands of dollars to pay for another helicopter search. Neither found any traces of the missing hunter.
Alikaswa said Ookpik Aviation of Baker Lake would do one more flyover across the area, although crews plan to call off the search Oct. 23.
Alikaswa says the chance of finding Kinniksie alive are getting slimmer.
“If he stayed with his ATV and maybe kept it as shelter, but without a Coleman stove to heat up and keep you warm, I don’t know,” Alikaswa said.
Temperatures in Arviat have hovered just below the freezing mark over the past two weeks, with a number of flurries.
Alikaswa encouraged people going out on the land to pick up a free GPS device called SPOT at the hamlet or the hunters and trappers’ office, to help search and rescue teams locate people who go missing.
“We’ve got a whole bunch here available for any hunter to pick up,” he said, “but they don’t use them.”