Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 21, 2017 - 3:35 pm

Bombardier snow machine falls through sea ice, killing three Nunavut men

One man survives, one confirmed deceased at scene, two lost

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Members of the RCMP in Whale Cove responded to a call about a snowmobile that had fallen through the ice near the community. (FILE PHOTO)
Members of the RCMP in Whale Cove responded to a call about a snowmobile that had fallen through the ice near the community. (FILE PHOTO)

A cargo run on the ice of western Hudson Bay in Nunavut has ended in tragedy, with three men dead after their large snow machine fell through sea ice.

On Jan. 21 at about 8:30 a.m., the Whale Cove RCMP received a call that a large snow machine, with four occupants, had fallen through the ice, a Jan. 21 RCMP news release said.

The type of machine the men were using was a large vehicle with tracks, skis and enclosed cab, often marketed under the name “snow cat” or “snow bus,” but known in the Kivalliq region as a “bombardier,” universally pronounced as “bombadeer.”

The RCMP’s investigation revealed that the four men, aged 27 to 55, were travelling on the sea ice from Rankin Inlet to Arviat, but their Bombardier fell through the ice near Whale Cove.

Ice was late to form this winter in Hudson Bay with ice in November at roughly 40 per cent of its usual extent, according to the Canadian Ice Service.

While cargo transport via snow machines in the Kivalliq has taken place for years, some have promoted airships or the construction of an all-weather road, connecting the mines and communities of that region to Manitoba, as a safer, quicker way to bring in goods.

Police said it’s believed the men were transporting a truck and snowmobiles with a large Bombardier and a qamutik, when they fell through the ice near Whale Cove, with a population of about 400.

One man survived and another man was confirmed deceased at the scene, while two others are “presumed deceased and have not been located,” police said.

The men, not identified in the release, are all from Rankin Inlet.

The Whale Cove RCMP detachment is working with Nunavut’s office of the Chief Coroner in the investigation.

“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and communities of Whale Cove, Arviat and Rankin,” the RCMP release said.

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