Transglobal expedition team recovers truck lost through the ice 5 months ago

Vehicle part of an overland excursion from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay when it was lost on March 23

A 12-member team from the Transglobal Car Expedition returned to the remote Arctic last week to recover a Ford pickup truck they lost through thin ice five months ago. (Photo courtesy of the Transglobal Car Expedition)

By Meral Jamal

The Transglobal Car Expedition team has recovered the pickup truck it lost in the Arctic Ocean five months ago.

The Ford F-150 was part of an overland excursion from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay when on March 23 it broke through thin ice near the Tasmania Islands and sank during a return trip to Cambridge Bay.

A 12-member team travelled to Gjoa Haven on Aug. 25 to recover it.

The truck was located 11 metres deep in the water and its position had shifted about four metres over the past five months, said Andrew Comrie-Picard, who was part of the expedition and the recovery team.

It took a group of experienced Arctic divers to bring it out of the water. They dove down to the truck, attached airbags to it, and floated it to the surface.

Comrie-Picard said the team experienced only slight challenges due to weather conditions, which made it difficult for the two divers who were attaching the airbags.

“The [water] current was very powerful. We had to wait until the tides were turning,” he said.

“And we only had about two one-hour windows per day to do the work, so we had our two inflatable boats out there [and] when the diver was diving we were fighting the current with the motors.”

Comrie-Picard said once the truck was brought ashore, the team was surprised to find very little fuel and other liquids had leaked from the vehicle and into the water during the five months it was submerged.

“We went over all of the reservoirs [in the vehicle] — the fuel tank, the oil pan, the radiator, coolant, battery, transmission — all these things to make sure that they didn’t leak any fluid,” he said. “It appears that nothing leaked out of any of those containers, which is great.

“We estimate that less than three litres of fluid escaped the vehicle.”

The truck and the team are both back in Gjoa Haven, where the F-150 was airlifted to await its return to Montreal via sealift.

The vehicle is no longer driveable due to corrosion to some aluminum parts and damage to other parts such as the vehicle’s drivetrain transfer case and axles.

Comrie-Picard said the purpose of the expedition was not only to recover the truck, but also to take it out of the environment to avoid contamination to the land.

“Having an understanding of what the land means — it fueled our efforts, even more, to leave the land in a pristine state,” he said.

Previously, Comrie-Picard has said the team might try to repair the vehicle, use parts of it that still work or display it at the Arctic Trucks factory in Cheyenne, Wyo.

The Transglobal Car Expedition involves a team of 16 Russians, Americans, Ukrainians, Canadians and Icelanders who hope to do the first-ever wheeled vertical circumnavigation of the globe.

The Yellowknife to Resolute Bay trek this year was seen as a test run prior to an attempt to complete that journey.

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(10) Comments:

    • Posted by sorta Northerner on

      I am sure our diet from the non organic section are more harmful than the diluted fuel oil filled seal, whale, fish etc…

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  1. Posted by Nunavummiut on

    I wonder what spy equipment was on the truck when they sunk the truck….

    I wonder if they had thousands of the micro camera krill that had self charge propel system on them…

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  2. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Sorry to disappoint Northerner, but here goes. I wonder how many local snowmachines replete with fuel, oil and other lubricants’ have been accidentally sunk in the area with nary a peep from the HTA with respect to the environmental damage?

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    • Posted by Taxpayer on

      To answer your question – Nil. The big currents, and the erosion of ice from below that they cause along this set of islands are very well known by local people. Easily avoided if passed on the outside or by crossing over land.

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  3. Posted by DUMBFOUNDED!! on

    To Northerner. First comment. Here. “It appears that nothing leaked out of any of those containers, which is great.
    “We estimate that less than three litres of fluid escaped the vehicle.” Which is it?
    Litres of what type of liquid?
    Seems as though someone’s mouth does not know what the brain is thinking.

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  4. Posted by Maq-Pat on

    No recent ones that I’m aware of, but some years multiple new vehicles are dropped Koojesse Inlet by sealift operators. I’ve never seen one recovered.

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  5. Posted by Good on

    I’m glad the HTO and the community just didn’t take this and stood up to get this group to clean up after themselves.
    Good job in the recovery.

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    • Posted by Taxpayer on

      Contrary to popular belief in Nunavut, HTOs enforce no laws except the rules that govern harvesting by their own members. This Expedition would have been required to recover the vehicle by federal authorities that have jurisdiction over the ocean in Nunavut such as DFO. The enforcement of federal legislation such as the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act of Canada is not based on local concerns. Depositing waste is against the law, notwithstanding the great leeway the Feds give our own Hamlets in this regard out of ignorance, lack of funding and capacity. I am sure Ottawa was very quick to make this foreign group an example.

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