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Great Slave Helicopters rescues two Inuit hunters

March 16, 2011  By Carey Fredericks

March 16, 2011, Iqaluit, Nunavut - Discovery Air Inc. subsidiaries Great Slave Helicopters and Discovery Mining Services are celebrating the efforts of several employees this weekend resulting in the harrowing rescue of two Inuit hunters from the icy waters of Frobisher Bay.

The pair was polar bear hunting when one of them fell through some soft ice. Great Slave Helicopters had part of its fleet in Iqaluit and, after obtaining a release from its customer Peregrine Diamonds, dispatched a Eurocopter AStar 350 B2, registration C-GFHN, to locate and rescue the men.

“Discovery Mining Services Logistics Manager Jennifer Burry got the call in Iqaluit and quickly made all the arrangements to initiate the Search and Rescue mission,” said John Curran, Discovery Air Marketing Manager – Northern Services. “The hunters were roughly 120 nautical miles from Iqaluit nearing the mouth of Frobisher Bay when our flight crew spotted them – one of the hunters was floating on his komatik and the other was on the ice.”

Pilot James Kitchen then maneuvered the helicopter in close while Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Will Ward plucked the two men, one-by-one, into the warmth and security of the hovering helicopter.

“It was about an hour and 25 minute flight to get them back into Iqaluit and all the while our assistant operations manager Louis Trottier was monitoring the helicopter’s progress from Yellowknife using our GPS satellite tracking system,” added Curran. “He was able to stay in contact with the Search and Rescue coordinators and provide real-time updates to the emergency medical services staff standing by to meet the helicopter upon its return to Iqaluit.”


Discovery Air’s subsidiaries annually assist in approximately a half-dozen Search and Rescue missions around the North. As a company, Discovery Air has a true passion for the North and is proud to help ensure all Northerners are protected when something goes wrong out on the land.

“We certainly respect our First Nation, Metis and Inuit partners and their desires to hunt and maintain their traditional lifestyles,” said Curran. “When something does go wrong in a case such as this, our team is only too happy to work with local rescue officials to help ensure a safe and timely Search and Rescue for the individuals involved and deliver them home to their loved ones.”


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