NEWS

Tourists, hunters stranded near Arctic Bay await pickup

06/26/2013 09:08 EDT | Updated 08/26/2013 05:12 EDT
Twenty tourists stranded on an ice floe drifting in Admiralty Inlet near Arctic Bay, Nunavut, are safely back on shore, rescue officials say.

Rescuers are waiting for the weather to clear before helicopters can reach the tourists and a second group of 11 local hunters who were also adrift.

The tourists, with the adventure group Arctic Kingdom, got stuck Tuesday after a large ice floe broke away, but rescue officials told CBC that the 20 walked back to shore after ice shifted and moved back toward land.

The group of hunters was also stranded on another ice floe near the tourists. They made it back to land Tuesday about 4 p.m. local time. The hunters crossed over onto land after the floe split and the section they were on floated close to shore.

Canadian Forces had dropped off emergency supplies to the tourists Tuesday after a Hercules aircraft from Winnipeg arrived at the scene.

There are no reports of any injuries.

There are two helicopters waiting in Grise Fiord, and another in Resolute. Fog kept them from reaching the stranded people early this morning.

Steve Neta with the Royal Canadian Air Force said the plan is to try again this afternoon.

"We're certainly prepared to provide more equipment if it was needed, but the way it looks right now is that everyone appears to be doing well, they have survival equipment, they have food and water, and certainly enough equipment to take care of themselves until we're able to extract them," he said.

Arctic Kingdom has been offering adventure trips in the High Arctic for more than a decade. Company spokesperson Graham Dickson said they're not all this adventurous.

"This is the first time that a whole camp has actually drifted," he said.

"There's no doubt there will be some discussion afterward about things that could be done in the future to prevent or better manage it."

The tour group and the hunters will be flown back to Arctic Bay. From there, the tourists will fly home.

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