Nunavik couple presumed drowned on camping trip
“Please keep the family, friends and all of the community in your prayers”
Nunavimmiut are mourning the loss of a Salluit couple who are believed to have drowned on a camping trip early this week.
Connie Ikey Keatainak and Tuuka Keatainak Sr., both aged 47, left Salluit on July 30 by boat to travel to their camp about five kilometres west of the village.
When their family had not heard from them by Aug. 2, they reported the couple missing.
Later that same day, searchers discovered the couple’s boat on the shore opposite their camp, the Kativik Regional Police Force said in an Aug. 6 news release.
Canadian Rangers joined the search that evening in the area around the camp, though crews found no sign of the couple.
When the police inspected the boat, the engine was no longer functioning, and other campers interviewed in the area said the sea was rough that day.
The police and community search crews believe the couple likely fell into the water and drowned, while their boat drifted to the opposite shore. The KRPF said there were no signs of foul play.
The police have since contacted the Sûreté du Québec to deploy a team of divers to search the area, but the depth of the water and the current in that particular area prevent an undersea search for the time being, the KRPF said.
Community-based search crews will continue ground searches over the next couple of days and attempt to use some underwater cameras to scan the seabed.
“Please keep the family, friends and all of the community in your prayers,” a first responder wrote on a community Facebook page, “as well please visit the families so they aren’t alone.”