Searchers find canoe used by missing Salluit hunters

Another local ground search planned


Searchers have found a canoe used by three missing Salluit hunters who disappeared June 8 after setting out on a seal hunting trip, a spokesperson for the Kativik Regional Government said June 30 in an email.

“It has been confirmed that this boat is the one that was used by the hunters missing from Salluit,” said Caroline D’Astous, a KRG communications officer.

D’Astous said the canoe was found just east of Deception Bay and that efforts are now underway to do a local ground search.

Frankie Ikey, 41, his son Stas, 20, and family friend Adamie Alaku, 45, went missing June 8 when they left to go seal hunting near Deception Bay.The three men had set out in a 22-foot freighter canoe, with hunting gear, satellite phone and an HFB radio.

They were expected to return during that evening, but never returned. After six days of extensive air searches around Salluit, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont. decided to end its air search in the Hudson Strait.

But an Air Inuit Twin Otter and a chartered Twin Otter, along with local searchers, continued to look for them and Canadian Rangers from Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq continued to comb the coasts for signs the missing hunters.

The Air Inuit Twin Otter, which had been involved in the search from the beginning, stopped its search June 20, although all personnel on scheduled flights kept their eyes open on the coastal areas along the Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay.

The community of Kangiqsujuaq started an air search of their own June 16 with a chartered Twin Otter from Iqaluit, but the expense of chartering the aircraft — about $8,000 a day — and the difficulty of finding aviation fuel made it “painfully clear that we cannot continue the air search indefinitely,” Kangiqsujuaq resident Yaaka Jaaka said in a June 17 email to Nunatsiaq News.

That air search was called off June 19.

Then, boats and canoes will be dispatched to search the coastal regions, Jaaka said.

“In the meantime, people from our community have been asked to be vigilant while out hunting or camping. We would also like to extent our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the immediate families and all those who have been affected or impacted by this event. Be it through close relations, distant relations, through friendship and those who have simply felt graced by their presence. May the spirits of their relatives, our relatives and those of our ancestors who shaped us into who we are, guide them back safely to their families and friends,” he said.

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