Two Arviat hunters, pilot, survive crash of rescue chopper
Nunavut RCMP: “The injuries were not as serious as initially projected”
A pilot and two stranded hunters waiting to be picked up survived the crash of a rescue helicopter that went down amidst sea ice about eight kilometres from Arviat around 2:45 central time Jan. 9.
“The injuries were not as serious as initially projected,” the Nunavut RCMP said in a statement issued on the evening of June 9.
The helicopter, a Bell 206 Jet Ranger, belonged to a private firm and had been contracted by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont. to pick up the two hunters, who became stranded on sea ice Jan. 8.
“The helicopter was apparently contracted to assist in the rescue of these two persons from the floe ice,” Supt. Hilton Smee of the Nunavut RCMP told reporters.
The crew of a Hercules transport sent from the JRCC in Trenton saw the crash, then dropped two search and rescue technicians to help the three stranded people.
Another helicopter operated by the Canadian Forces later arrived. The military chopper flew the downed helicopter’s pilot and the two hunters, to Arviat around 5:30 p.m. central time.
By mid-evening, the trio were being treated for hypothermia at the Arviat health centre, where a doctor and nurses had been standing by.
The two Arviat men had gone out to hunt seals in the midst of extreme weather conditions, and spent the night coping with windchill readings that dipped to -50 C.
No other injuries are reported.
Smee said the identity of the firm that owns the helicopter is not yet confirmed and the names of the three rescued people have not been released.
He also said the Transportation Safety Board has been notified.