Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 11, 2012 - 11:57 am

Travelling on the land? Don’t forget your SPOT beacon, the RCMP advises

“The unit provides accurate and timely information of your location for search and rescue teams to find you in a safe, efficient and a timely manner"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
The Government of Nunavut handed out 500 of these Spot satellite GPS messenger devices to communities last year so hunters could signal their distress and searchers would be able to find them more quickly and easily. Now, Nunavut RCMP urges those travelling out on the land to sign out a device before they leave town. (FILE PHOTO)
The Government of Nunavut handed out 500 of these Spot satellite GPS messenger devices to communities last year so hunters could signal their distress and searchers would be able to find them more quickly and easily. Now, Nunavut RCMP urges those travelling out on the land to sign out a device before they leave town. (FILE PHOTO)

Two search and rescue efforts in the Baffin region led to happy endings last weekend, when search and rescue teams from both Kimmirut and Iqaluit found missing hunters.

But the RCMP in Nunavut says carrying a SPOT beacon device can make all the difference in how a search effort turns out.

Late on Jan. 7, Iqaluit police received a call from a hunting party who had been separated from another hunter about 50 kilometres northwest of Iqaluit, the RCMP said in a Jan. 10 news release.

A 61-year-old man had gone off course earlier that day. Although he had supplies and food, the hunter was not carrying a SPOT beacon and temperatures dipped to -48 C, with the windchill, during the day.

The following morning, a search team set out from Iqaluit. The group discovered the missing hunter at 1:00 a.m. Jan. 9, stuck in a valley roughly 88 km northwest of Iqaluit.

The hunter was discovered safe and in good health, despite the chilly temperatures.

But RCMP said the man could have been rescued faster if he were carrying a SPOT beacon. The handheld satellite devices are available free of charge through Iqaluit’s community search and rescue office.

“All hunters are encouraged to become familiar with the ease these units are to operate,” said the RCMP news release. “The unit, when activated, provides accurate and timely information of your location for (search and rescue) teams to find you in a safe, efficient and a timely manner.”

In a separate incident, the RCMP says two Kimmirut hunters were rescued from the land the same weekend, thanks to SPOT devices.

Early on Jan. 7, Nunavut’s emergency measures organization notified the Kimmirut RCMP of a SPOT beacon being activated.

A search team set out from the community late in the morning to search along the Soper River valley, where two Kimmirut men were found just after midnight.

Both hunters had been travelling on one snow machine toward Iqaluit Jan. 7, when their vehicle went through the river ice and became stuck. The two men activated the SPOT beacon when they realized they were stranded with wet feet in -45 C temperatures.

“The quick response by the Kimmirut search and rescue after the activation of the SPOT beacon, combined with the supplies the hunters retained, made for the successful rescue,” said the RCMP release.

The RCMP encourages Nunavummiut travelling out on the land to sign out a SPOT beacon from their local hamlet office before they leave town.

The Government of Nunavut handed out 500 of the satellite messenger devices to communities across the territory in 2010, to be made available to residents free of charge.

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