UPDATE: The missing individuals have been found. More details to come.
An ever-expanding search for a Gjoa Haven grandfather, his grandson and his son-in-law who didn’t return from the seal derby on the weekend is being aided by a helicopter that arrived earlier today.
The missing community members were on a snowmobile with a qamutik in tow. The grandson is around eight years old while the son-in law is in his late teens.
“The last we heard of them they were east of Gjoa Haven, southeast,” said James Qitsualik, a member of the search and rescue committee.
He said a set of tracks was discovered earlier today and that’s the area of focus right now.
“People are almost going out on an hourly basis. They’re leaving in pairs,” he said of the searchers.
The grandfather has a six-person dome tent and he’s capable on the land, Qitsualik noted.
“He’s an experienced hunter,” he said. “But they’ve been out for quite a while. We’re pretty sure they’re out of pretty much everything now, even fuel.”
Gusting winds and blowing snow over the weekend resulted in poor visibility.
“Especially when you’re out on the ice, you’ve got no landmarks. You start going in circles. There’s no features. It gets very difficult,” Qitsualik said, adding that the weather has cleared up since.
Hamlet senior administrative officer Ed Devereaux said residents have really pulled together — many have donated food and gasoline, as has the municipality.
“This is a great community. They come together strong when stuff like this happens,” Devereaux said. “Even if there’s differences, they forget their differences pretty quick and then they go out there with the mission and make sure they find the people.”