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Rankin hunter found safe

A search-and-rescue (SAR) mission ended in success when a young man from Rankin Inlet was found after being lost on the land for three days this past month.

On April 20, Kashtin Simik was travelling alone from Chesterfield Inlet to Rankin Inlet but failed to arrive at his destination.

Kashtin Simik of Rankin Inlet enjoys a pop after search-and-rescue members find him after three days on the land on April 23. photo courtesy Wesley Innukshuk

SAR teams mounted a desperate search for the missing man and located him on the evening of April 23, according to Rankin Inlet Search and Rescue member Wesley Innukshuk.

Simik had run out of gas, he said.

“All our searchers did a great job and, thankfully, this search ended on a happy note,” said Innukshuk.

Simik left Chester at about 7:15 p.m. on April 20.

The search was organized when Simik's father phoned Rankin SAR to tell them his son had not returned home.

“His dad went out and searched for him Saturday morning, but found nothing, so he called us back to say there was no sign of him, so we immediately started our search and rescue,” said Innukshuk.

A helicopter, a Twin Otter plane and about 25 to 30 SAR members from Rankin and Chester were involved in the search.

“He was spotted by myself, Marlene Tulugak, Simon Naukatsik and the chopper pilot on the helicopter,” he said.

Innukshuk said the rescuers found Simik's snow machine long before they located him.

He said this, hopefully, will be another message to young hunters to never leave their machine and qamutiik if they're broke down on the land.

“If you have any kind of tools for a shelter, stay with your machine where you broke down or ran out of gas. Just stay put,” he said. “We found his machine right after lunch and we didn't find him until 7:52 p.m. Six or seven hours is an awful long time when you've been on the land for three days.”

Simik was found walking in a northwest direction, away from Rankin, when he was found. He was walking in a circle and almost looped back to his 600 Polaris Classic machine.

“So, really, he was pretty much out there walking in circles,” said Innukshuk.

Innukshuk said Simik didn't sign-out a SPOT before his trip, nor did he have a GPS or a satellite phone.

He said he left Chester with a full tank of gas and about three to five spare gallons in a jerry can.

“It was not the best weather for travelling that evening either, with the wind picking up the way it did,” said Innukshuk. “Every search is different and you never know what condition you're going to find the person in. This all goes through your mind while you're out there.”