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Divers wanted for body searches


Tragic deaths in boats or on the sea ice occasionally happen in Nunavut, and the situation is made worse for families who never find the bodies of their loved ones.

For that reason, Nunavut needs divers to retrieve bodies of people who perish in the sea, said Cape Dorset mayor Mathew Saviajuk Jaw last Monday during a meeting of the Baffin mayors in Iqaluit.

Tom Rich, deputy minister of Community and Government Services, told Jaw that his department has explored the possibility of importing teams of divers, but that it’s expensive.

Bringing up divers from the South can cost $40,000 to $50,000 for a three-day search, Rich said. Three divers must be hired and equipment imported, according to safety regulations. Bad weather — often the cause of the accident in the first place — can hamper the effectiveness of these teams, who may travel to Nunavut only to find the weather doesn’t cooperate with their search.

There are one or two divers in Rankin Inlet, but they lack the certification required for the job, Rich said.

Lootie Toomasie, the mayor of Qikiqtarjuaq, said his community has eight or nine divers who could be certified to do the job.

“Certainly it would be a lot cheaper than bringing divers in from down South,” Toomasie said.

Rich promised his department would investigate.

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