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Helicopter goes down during Arviat, Nunavut rescue Print E-mail

A dramatic search and rescue near Arviat, Nunavut on January 9, 2013 turned a rescuer into the rescued.   Around 3:45 pm that day, a Custom Helicopters Bell 206 Jet Ranger (C-GGZS)  that had been hired pick two hunters off of the sea ice broke through the ice on landing.  The hunters who were to be rescued by the helicopter had to help the pilot from the machine as it slipped partially into the water and turned on its side.

The hunters were overdue from a seal hunting trip on the night of January 8th. They were on an ice pan that broke off from the land fast ice, preventing them from getting back to their snowmobiles and equipment.  The Canadian Forces Search and Rescue were called in when the men didn't return to Arviat as planned.  The Joint Rescue Control Centre dispatched a Hercules search aircraft, which located the men early on the morning of January 9th  Attempts by local Arviat searchers to reach the men by boat failed due to the extreme cold. Temperatures at the time were below -30 degress celcius, with wind chills making it feel like about -50.

The Canadian Forces then called in the private helicopter which was based in Gillam, Manitoba.  Hunter Joe Karetak picks up the story here.

The Custom Jet Ranger C-GGZS arrived on scene and attempted the rescue, with the Hercules circling above.  When C-GGZS ran into trouble, Search and Rescue technicians parachuted down from the Herc to assist.  All were picked up by a Canadian Forces Griffon helicopter which was enroute to the scene from CFB Cold Lake, Alberta. The Griffon arrived about 20 or 30 minutes after the mishap with the Custom Helicopters machine, according to a Canadian Forces spokesperson.

The two hunters and the Custom pilot flown to Arviat,  Nunavut, where they were treated for hypothermia at the nursing station and released.

The Transportation Safety Board is interviewing everyone involved in the incident, but may not conduct a full investigation, according to CBC North News. Here's the Civil Aviation Daily Occurence Report on the incident


Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2013 00:32
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