Respected hunter dies in snowmobile collision near Iqaluit

One man dead, woman lies in critical condition


(updated May 25, 5:00 p.m.)

The Iqaluit RCMP continue to investigate a deadly collision between two snowmobiles May 23 on Frobisher Bay, which resulted in the death of Johnny Nowdlak, 47, of Iqaluit.

Nowdlak, a highly respected hunter in Iqaluit, worked for many years as a wildlife officer. In February 1999, Nowdlak contested the Iqaluit Centre seat in Nunavut’s first territorial election, finishing in third place.

The Iqaluit RCMP investigators say that speed was “definitely a factor” in the May 23 snowmobile collision that killed Nowdlak.

RCMP spokesman Stephen Kilabuk said police continue to investigate the accident, although they have also ruled out alcohol as a cause.

The collision, which took place less than a kilometre outside Iqaluit, occurred at about 8:00 p.m..

Nowdlak was later pronounced dead at the Qikiqtani General Hospital, police said.

The driver of the second snowmobile, Courtney Dunphy, 20, also of Iqaluit, was sent by medevac to Ottawa during the early hours of May 24.

She remained in critical condition May 25, recovering from trauma to the head, a collapsed lung and several broken ribs.

Weather did not appear to be a contributing factor to the collision, nor did the terrain, an RCMP news release said.

At the time of the collision, the two snowmobile drivers, who had been out for most of the day, were headed back to Iqaluit from different locations on the bay, police said.

Nowdlak’s funeral is scheduled for May 26 in Iqaluit.

If anyone has any further information on this case, call the Iqaluit R.C.M.P. Detachment at (867) 979-1111 and or Crime Stoppers at 1(800) 222-8477 (TIPS).

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