Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik September 27, 2016 - 10:00 am

Nunavik community looking for help to recover drowned man

"It's bureaucratic nonsense"

SARAH ROGERS
A group of hunters headed about 20 kilometres south of Inukjuak towards Frazier Island Sept. 24. One man in the group is now presumed drowned, but searchers have yet to locate a body. (GOOGLE MAPS IMAGE)
A group of hunters headed about 20 kilometres south of Inukjuak towards Frazier Island Sept. 24. One man in the group is now presumed drowned, but searchers have yet to locate a body. (GOOGLE MAPS IMAGE)

(Updated Sept. 28)

Municipal officials in Inukjuak are asking for help with a search and rescue that turned into a recovery mission to find a local man who is now presumed drowned.

Jobie Nungaq left the Nunavik community early Sept. 24 in a boat with three other people. The group headed about 20 kilometres south towards Frazier Island to pick urchins and mussels.

But sometime around 1 p.m., the group’s canoe drifted away.

Nungaq gathered some plastic containers to fashion a raft, which he used to try to paddle to the other side of the island.

But a strong current is believed to have capsized the man’s makeshift raft in the mid-afternoon.

“He’s presumed dead,” said municipal manager Shoamik Inukpuk. “He never made it to the other side of the island.”

Boaters passing the island that same evening rescued the three other stranded hunters and together the group looked for any signs of Nungaq.

Once the community heard about the missing man, Inupuk said nine boats and about 100 searchers set out to look for Nungaq with flashlights.

A search the following morning turned up the man’s jacket. Now family and community members are anxious to find the man’s body so they can lay him to rest, Inukpuk said.

The Northern Village has turned to other organizations to help with search efforts, without much luck.

Inukpuk said the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont. couldn’t help, because they only assist in searches where the missing person is believed to be living.

Inukpuk said the local Kativik Regional Police Force do not assist in searches until there is a criminal element involved.

Inukpuk has now made a request to the Quebec provincial police, the Sûreté du Québec, to send a diving team to the community, but he said the Northern Village hasn’t had a response yet.

“It’s bureaucratic nonsense,” he said.

“At least there are still some good people in the community who are willing to help.”

Sept. 28 update: The office of Aboriginal Affairs minister Geoffrey Kelley said the Sûreté du Québec was sending a dive team to the Nunavik community Sept. 28 to assist with the search.

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