Puvirnituq residents shocked by discovery of human remains during search for missing boater

Two bodies yet to be identified, acting mayor says

Puvirnituq residents are in shock and mourning after the suspected death of a kayaker and the unexpected discovery of other human remains, says acting mayor Jenny Tulugak Irqu. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Puvirnituq’s acting mayor says the Nunavik community is in shock and mourning after the suspected death of a kayaker and the unexpected discovery of other human remains.

A search was launched along the Puvirnituq River on July 10 after witnesses saw a kayaker tip into the water.

The 37-year-old Puvirnituq man is now presumed to have drowned, said Puvirnituq’s acting mayor Jenny Tulugak Irqu. Authorities have not released his identity.

During the second day of searches, on July 11, volunteer crews discovered two other bodies.

“They found a body we didn’t expect to see along the shore not too far from the community,” Tulugak Irqu said.

“And then they found another one underwater later that afternoon. It was shocking.”

Tulugak Irqu said those individuals could not yet be identified, though she said they are likely local residents who went missing in recent years. Both bodies have been sent south for autopsies and it could take another month to get results back, she said.

“It’s been an emotional time,” Tulugak Irqu said. “We’re trying our best to support the families.”

The kayaker was an experienced boater, Tulugak Irqu said, and a witness said the man was wearing a lifejacket at the time his kayak tipped over.

“It was windy that day, so it was hard for him to paddle,” she said.

Search and rescue crews looked for the missing kayaker for seven days, until he the search was temporarily called off. Tulugak Irqu said the community plans to resume that search later this summer, when more boaters return from vacation time on the land.

Tulugak Irqu said the community was grateful to receive help from a search crew in Akulivik, the use of an underwater camera from Inukjuak as well as assistance from Sûreté du Québec divers who flew to Puvirnituq for two days last week.

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Michael Cunning on

    Weren’t the two dead bodies missed by anyone? I doubt anyone would last long in the cold water. My condolences to the families.

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    • Posted by Bridget Salt on

      Hi, concerning about the 2 bodies that we’re found
      Yes I am conern about the 2 bodies, in year Oct,17 ,2017
      4 people drown and still today 2 we’re still missing which one of those 2 is one of my Brother

  2. Posted by Erica on

    What is she talking about “Vacation on the land”

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    • Posted by Consistency on

      It can also be called going hunting or camping, typically with the whole family and though hunting and fishing usually also happen most of the family just lives on the land for a short time.
      it is the best kind of vacation.

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    • Posted by Margot Sammurtok on

      Inuit going out “on the land” refers to leaving their settlements and going out on the land either to a cabin or other shelter for the purpose of hunting/fishing or just getting out of town.

    • Posted by Inuk on

      Go help them then!

      • Posted by Erica on

        It’s not Vacation. People that works 9 to 5 and has a 2 week off work going on vacation, thats vacation. Hunting/Fishing is not a hobby it’s to feed the population with country food. Its a necessity!

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        • Posted by Consistency on

          The part that makes it a ‘vacation’ is that the whole family usually goes as well, where a hunting trip to feed the community is usually more focused on hunting (usually just the men, though not always and does not need to be in the modern time).
          Also even people without a 9-5 job need to escape the town life and regular everyday things. So ya even family of full time hunters need ‘vacations’ by going on the land. also these are often the times that children are taught how to make camps, and how to hunt by being around it with out going out in -40 in the middle of winter to hunt.

  3. Posted by Chesley on

    There are many things that you see and hear of that are cause for concern in the villages, but 2 bodies un-id-eed in the river is a shocker.

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    • Posted by NUNAVIMIUK on

      This is a very odd story, their looking for one particular body , but instead , they find two other ones.

  4. Posted by Try reading again! on

    Likely local residents that have gone missing in recent years, it reads.

  5. Posted by Cold bear on

    Finding other bodies while searching for a different one happens alot more then people think but it is weird that this happened in the north.
    Hopefully family of those other 2 will finally get some peace.

  6. Posted by Erica on

    Puvirnituq population is about 1,800 and so much other people has canoe to search yet theyre still waiting for ones gone hunting.. they were the only ones searching? People that has the ability to use the canoe should search voluntarily for the community, families grieving, hope they get to find the missing kayaker.

  7. Posted by Searchers on

    Naammaqunnaqtut qinirhiayut-our thoughts to the searchers as well.

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