07/02/2013 07:21 EDT | Updated 09/01/2013 05:12 EDT

24 people rescued from ice floe near Pond Inlet, Nunavut

A group of 24 people were rescued on the weekend after the ice they were on broke free at the floe edge near Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

The group was out hunting narwhals.

At about 11:30 a.m. on June 30, RCMP in Pond Inlet were notified about the incident.

Eleven hunters managed to get away when the ice broke off the first time. But the others were on an ice floe which was breaking up fast, and they needed to be rescued immediately.

The group stuck included several children.

"The stranded group started floating away right away as soon as the ice broke off. We were concerned about the children first, and that they should be brought home first," said Simon Merkosak, who is with the search and rescue team committee in Pond Inlet.

"And the more capable adults could help each other and deal with the situation quickly."

Merkosak said military aircraft were not involved. A helicopter pilot, who happened to be in the area to transport researchers to their field sites near the community, made several trips to rescue the hunters.

"It’s pretty scary, especially when the ice starts to break and you have to quickly find a way out of it to get to a safer place," said Jollie Enoogoo, one of the hunters who was stranded.

Enoogoo said they were lucky the helicopter was able to reach them within about 20 minutes. Twenty people returned to town by helicopter, while the four others returned by snowmobile.The Nunavut Emergency Measures Organization, and the Pond Inlet search and rescue team also helped with the rescue effort.

No one was hurt, and all of the people were safely returned to shore by about 9:30 p.m.

Some people returned to the floe edge Monday to pick up machines that had been left behind.

This is the third time in the past week that a group of people have become stranded on an ice floe in Nunavut and had to be rescued.