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Pilot Rescued

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Updated: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 08:00:04 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca
Nunavut hunters pull helicopter pilot from icy water


A helicopter pilot sent to rescue two Nunavut hunters stranded on the ice ended up having to get rescued as well.

The pilot of the Bell 206 Jet Ranger had been contracted by the Canadian military to rescue the two stranded seal hunters off the west shore of Hudson Bay this afternoon.

Initial reports suggested the helicopter had crashed with the rescued hunters on board. Military officials later said it was not, in fact, a crash.

“The chartered civilian helicopter, which was chartered from Gillam, Man., broke through the ice after landing on an ice floe to rescue two overdue stranded hunters," said Maj. Isabelle Robitaille, the senior public affairs officer for the military's 1 Canadian Air Division.

"It landed and then the ice broke and then it started to sink ... and then the hunters were on their way to the helicopter, and from our understanding, they helped pull him out of the helicopter, and then our search and rescue technician jumped in and provided assistance with stabilizing the person that had been in the water."

Robitaille said a second helicopter, which had already been on its way to help with the rescue, then picked up all three people — the two hunters and the pilot.

The three men are being treated for hypothermia in Arviat. The temperatures Wednesday in Arviat was near -50 C with the windchill.

Charlotte St. John's brother, Joe Karetak, who is in his 50s, and his 20-year-old son, are the two hunters who were stranded. They left home on a snowmobile Tuesday to go hunting, but didn't return.

St. John said it had been a "horrendous" day. "But I have a lot of family and friends and they have given us a lot of support. That’s the only way we have been surviving today."

Hilton Smee, the chief superintendent of the Nunavut RCMP, held a press conference in Iqaluit Wednesday.

“The helicopter apparently was contracted by the Canadian Forces rescue, or the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, to assist them in the rescue of these two persons on the floe ice,” said Smee.

A Canadian Forces Hercules aircraft was in the area and saw the incident. It immediately deployed two search and rescue technicians to help.

Rescue officials from Trenton, Ont., reported the chartered, privately owned helicopter was half on the ice, half in the water about eight kilometres southeast of Arviat, about 100 metres from where the hunters were.

Rescuers had attempted to get to the hunters by boat early this morning, but they were hampered by icy water.

“We’re happy that everyone managed to get out of this incident in good condition considering, and I think that at the end of the day the important fact is that everybody worked together," said Robitaille.

Nunavut RCMP say the Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.


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Record #32Cadors Number: 2013C0108
Reporting Region: Prairie & Northern

Occurrence InformationOccurrence Type: Accident
Occurrence Date: 2013-01-09

Occurrence Time: 2200 Z
Day Or Night: night-time

Fatalities: 0
Injuries: 3

Canadian Aerodrome ID:
Aerodrome Name:

Occurrence Location: Vicinity of Arviat

Province: Nunavut
Country: CANADA

World Area: North America

Reported By: NAV CANADA
AOR Number: 156404-V1

TSB Class Of Investigation:
TSB Occurrence No:

Aircraft InformationFlight #:

Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Country of Registration: CANADA

Model: 206B

Year Built: 1975
Amateur Built: No

Engine Make: ALLISON
Engine Model: 250-C20

Engine Type: Turbo shaft
Gear Type: Land

Phase of Flight: Landing
Damage: Unknown


Operator Type: Commercial

Event InformationCollision with terrain

Detail InformationUser Name: Buettner, Kami

Date: 2013-01-10

Further Action Required: No


Narrative: UPDATE JRCC : E.M1 - 090241Z. Overdue Boaters Arviat (610900N 0934850W - Sentry Island). 2 person overdue from a seal hunting expedition. Hunters snow machines and gear located on ice edge with no sight of them or their small plywood homebuilt boat. R340 tasked. 8 -10 local searchers on snow machines also searching ice edge. R340 located 2 persons on a large ice flow ~ 1 mile off shore. Local GSAR launching boat. A Helicopter was contracted to pick up the hunters. R477 from Cold Lake also tasked as back up to rescue plan. The chartered helicopter arrived on scene but broke through the ice. The 2 hunters were able to pull the pilot from the water. Both hunters and the chartered helicopter pilot were picked up by R477 and brought to Arviat for medical attention. At this time all 3 casualties consist of 2 Green 1 Yellow and have been released to the local medical clinic for further care. CASE CLOSED air times to follow. HERC 340 435 - 0.0, GRIF 477 417 - 0.0, Bell Jet Ranger - 0.0, HERC 343 424 - 0.0, HERC 338 435 - 0.0, CORM 902 413 - 0.0, CORM 910 413 - 0.3, CORM 902 413 - 0.0, HERC 332 413 - 0.7 [T2013-00019]

User Name: Buettner, Kami

Date: 2013-01-10

Further Action Required: No

O.P.I.: System Safety

Narrative: CACO reported to the NOC that a Custom Helicopters Ltd Bell Textron 206B (C-GGZS) on a VFR flight, crashed while engaged in a search and rescue operation to pick up hunters stranded on Hudson Bay. The location of the crash was 4 miles off shore at approximately 6100N/09350W. 3 POB, all injured, and were airlifted to Arviat by RCC helicopter. TSB UL and TSB WG advised.

Please note that for the most part, CADORS reports contain preliminary, unconfirmed data which can be subject to change.

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