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Baker Lake loses young man to blizzard



Funeral services were held Tuesday for a 25-year-old Baker Lake man who froze to death last week in a blinding snowstorm.

Joshua Aminaaq’s body was found only metres from the shelter of the mining camp he and Victor Utatanaq, 39, were hired to maintain.

“After being out there, yesterday, it’s not hard to wonder how it can happen either,” RCMP Cst. Don Perrett said.

The pair lost their way after wandering from the camp to retrieve a piece of equipment needed to pump oil into a fuel tank. Disoriented by the storm, the men were unable to find their way back to shelter.

“They spent the night outside,” said Perrett, “first in an igloo, until the wind tore that down. Then they dug themselves into a snowbank.

“In the morning they tried to get back to the cabins, but they literally had to crawl, and only Victor was able to make it.”

The RCMP retrieved Aminaaq’s body Thursday after getting directions to the camp from the driver of a supply vehicle who made the discovery.

Utatanaq was extremely shaken up by the ordeal, but apparently escaped serious physical injury, police said.

Lone Gull Camp, 100 kilometres west of Baker Lake, is in operation only during the summer months. Urangesellschaft Canada Ltd. was employing the men to take care of the camp’s several buildings over the winter.

The camp had no means of radio communication or snowmobile.

On the morning after their long night outdoors, while blizzard winds continued to blow, the stronger of the two men made a last attempt to crawl to the safety of the camp.

“After being urged by Joshua to go on ahead and warm up the cabin,” Cst. Perrett said, “he got there, passed out briefly and then came back to find him. And at that time Joshua was already dead.”

Police discovered Aminaaq’s body 21 metres from the camp.

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