A worker driving a D6 dozer at Sabina Gold and Silver’s Back River project plunged through the ice near the company’s port facility at Bathurst Inlet and died on the afternoon of Jan. 17.

The company became aware of the tragic accident when it was reported that the piece of heavy equipment and its operator — who is employed by a contractor — were missing.

All personnel were called back to the camp and accounted for with the exception of the one individual, according to Nicole Hoeller, Sabina’s vice-president of communications and corporate secretary.

“Our president and CEO is on his way up to site to provide support to our team while we get to the cause of this tragic accident. At this point, we simply don’t know the pertinent details to comment any further,” Hoeller stated on Jan. 18.

The deceased employee’s family has been notified and Sabina committed to providing support and assistance to them.

“On behalf of Sabina, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the individual’s family, friends and colleagues,” said Bruce McLeod, Sabina’s president and CEO.

The company also said it would offer counselling and support to staff at the Back River site, approximately 400 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay.

The RCMP, the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission and the mines inspector have also been notified, Hoeller added. The RCMP will help coordinate a recovery effort.

Mine inspectors are expected to begin an investigation as early as Jan. 19.

A spill report has also been filed with environmental authorities.

All activities near the port have been suspended until further notice, according to Hoeller.

Join the Conversation


  1. Great loss he was a great guy ….that company can never repay the loss that family has lost ….
    Sean oleary

  2. I Worked at MLA all summer long as the chef. I cant bleave this happened to such a great guy. We all go up there to make money for our family . My heart goes out to his family and friends. No matter what you do for work take the time to plan your tasks.

  3. On February 29,1996 my younger brother went through the ice in D6 tractor while clearing a runway in the port area at Voisey’s Bay, Labrador into approximately 400 ft. off water. His body was recovered 8 days later.
    When ice surfaces freeze in such areas, cracks form, intersecting each other and when a large weight like a bulldozer runs onto that angle cracked area, the triangular area breaks, flips, and dumps the load into, (in this case) the ocean.
    I am sorry but this was not an accident.
    It was an industry driven act of stupidity and in my opinion a very serious crime.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *