Search continues for missing Nunavut boater

Solomon Tulurialik, 29, has been missing since last Wednesday

Searchers in Baker Lake continue to comb the lake and shore for signs of Solomon Tulurialik, 29, missing since last Wednesday. (File photo)

By Jane George

(Updated Aug. 7,  3 p.m.)

Over the long weekend and into this week, the attention of people in Baker Lake continued to be focused on the search for a missing boater.

But as of today, searchers had found no trace of Solomon Tulurialik, 29, who is known in Baker Lake for his community involvement.

Tulurialik was out boating about five kilometres east of the Kivalliq community of about 2,000 last Wednesday, July 31, when his boat ran out of fuel and he attempted to swim ashore.

Tulurialik, a haul truck driver for Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., who was working most recently for Arctic Fuel, has not been seen since.

Meanwhile, more than more than 200 volunteer searchers, with 70 boats and about 50 all-terrain vehicles, have signed up with the Baker Lake search and rescue team to find Tulurialik, according to online updates.

The search has also involved drone flights, helicopters, boats equipped with sonar and underwater cameras, with eight dragging teams operating in grid formation on the lake.

Over the weekend, the weather restricted boat searches, but many land-based searchers headed out.

They covered the areas from the mouth of the Thelon river to Prince River, and searched the area from Tulurialik’s last location along the shore to the west end of town extensively, said a recent SAR update.

As well, the Baker Lake search and rescue team brought in an underwater drone that will be deployed instead of divers to explore underwater.

The members of the HEART (Hutterite Emergency Aquatic Response Team) team from Morris, Manitoba, are now in the community, and have put their remotely-operated underwater drone vehicle into operation.

The drone, which can reach depths of up to 1,000 metres, contains a sonar system, an arm, and a live-feed video with GPS.

Fundraising to help the search continues, with an online fundraising page now accepting donations. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised nearly $4,000.

Local residents are also selling items, such as wolf mitts and an amauti, with the proceeds going to the search.

And the community of Rankin Inlet held a penny sale fundraiser at its community hall to show their support for the search.

All donations will to help pay for the rover team, gas, food, rope, hooks and other supplies.

In Baker Lake, Tulurialik, a devoted father, is known as a great guy, residents say.

Known by the nickname “Salahockey” or Sala, he coached minor hockey this past year in the midget division and was also involved with the Senior Men’s hockey league.

“Not only was he a good role model for his players and his community, but also a good singer and musician,” said Karen Yip, who is co-ordinating communications for the search effort in Baker Lake.

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