Searchers locate missing Igloolik hunters
“We didn’t move for a second until we started clapping with joy”
Three missing Igloolik hunters have been found.
The three men had been missing since Jan 13 when a Hall Beach search and rescue team spotted one of them — Kenny Immaroitok — walking on the tundra.
Immaroitok left the others — elder Eugene Epkanark and Andrew Allorut — to find help after their snowmobile ran out of gas.
That’s when a Hall Beach search and rescue team, which joined the community search Jan. 14, spotted him walking.
“He spotted someone walking, so he turned about, went over, and learned it was Kenny,” Igloolik search and rescue coordinator Celestino Uyarak said.
The rescue crew took Immaroitok back to Igloolik on the afternoon of Jan. 15.
“We were very surprised to see him standing in front of us. We didn’t move for a second until we started clapping with joy. It took us a moment,” Uyarak said.
Uyarak said search and rescue crews are picking the other two up this afternoon. They expect the two to be back in Igloolik at any moment.
“[Immaroitok] walked in and he was able to pinpoint where the others were,” Uyarak said.
“They were not far from where the searchers were. What Kenny told us, they were in old rough ice,” Uyarak said.
Because they were stuck in that position, the three missing hunters could see and hear the search and rescue crews, but the crews could not see them.
And Uyarak said the search and rescue crews became concerned when they found the hunters’ supplies on the land.
“[They] ran out of supplies. They dropped their food supplies a few days earlier. That’s why they wanted to find them so bad,” Uyarak said.
Search and rescue personnel were particularly concerned with Epkanark, who is over 70, and has a medical condition. Searchers found his medication on the land Jan. 14.
Uyarak said Epkanark suffered a stroke last year, but still likes to go out on the land.
Once the three men are reunited in Igloolik, there will be a celebration, Uyarak said. But first, they will receive medical attention.
“They’ve been out there for three days. They could be catching cold or hypothermia or anything,” Uyarak said.
“To take precautions, we would take them to health department.”