Two men drown in Inukjuak
Snowmobile crashes through thin ice
Two young Inukjuak men died last Thursday night after their snowmobile plunged through a weak patch of ice on the village’s river.
Josie Napartuk and Peter Eyaituk, both 19, had set out around 8 p.m. to pick up some take-out from the local arena. When they had not returned by 11 p.m., police were called and a search began.
The search broke off a couple of hours later when police grew concerned over the safety of the thin river ice. When it resumed the next day, police and volunteer searchers quickly discovered the men’s bodies floating in the river.
Police called the drowning a freak accident of nature. “For the past few years, there’s a phenomenon where a patch of the river ice becomes covered again with water — about six to eight feet of it. Then a small layer of ice freezes on top of the water,” said Captain Larry Hubert of the Kativik Regional Police Force.
“The town had been warning people that day to stay off the ice but for whatever reason the kids decided to go across. Unfortunately, they never made it.”
Police and searchers had to use a canoe to retrieve the bodies because the ice was still too unstable to walk on.
The village barricaded the area once the bodies were taken to the nursing station. The barricade of ropes and barrels was removed once the ice solidified later in the week.
Johnny Williams, municipal manager for the town of Inukjuak, said a funeral service was held at the town’s Anglican Church on Monday.
Williams said relatives and friends travelled from across Nunavik to support the boys’ parents.
More than four hundred people attended the services, he said.