​Tourists Stranded On Ice Floe Rescued In Arctic Bay

Author: Kara GilmourBy:
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June 27, 2013
Also: Arctic Bay, Canada, Ice Floe, Stranded, Tourists, Tourists Stranded On Ice Floe

A group of tourists, including two Americans, have been rescued after being stranded on a drifting ice floe in the Canadian Arctic. The individuals were camping north of Arctic Bay, Nunavut, as part of a tour.

The Repeated Stemtour guide takes Repeated Stemtourists, film crews and scientists regularly to camp toin an area that is very active in whale and polar bear migrations as well as near a national park.

The 20 people who were out on a tour earlier this week included visitors from the U.S., Jordan, France and Australia. There was also an Inuit hunting group of between 10 and 12 people about 20 miles away that also became stranded on the ice floe.

Arctic Kingdom’s president and chief expedition officer Graham Dickson believes it was irregular weather patterns that led to the ice floe’s moving away from the land and stranding the group.

“What was unique right now is there was a supermoon a couple of days ago. There was a very large tide that combined with a strong wind from the South,” Dickson told ABCNews.com today. “As a result, we believe it raised a lot of ice with the tide and then the wind pushed some very large ice inlets–as much as 30 miles in size–out away from the shore.”

The tour group was planning to camp out there for the entire week, so they had plenty of equipment, Dickson said, including food, heated tents, dining tents and kitchen equipment.

“Nobody was in any immediate danger at any time,” Dickson said, but he emphasized that the situation still called for caution.

“They were moving and whenever you’re on moving ice you have to take precautions because if it keeps moving or if it were starting to break up, then that could be dangerous,” he said. “So you need to anticipate what could happen.”

Despite the group being trapped, the Royal Canadian Air Force dropped survival kits with additional equipment on Tuesday morning. The kits included satellite phones so that the group could be in constant contact with the rescue coordination center, according to Major Steve Neta of the RCAF.

The ice they were on was between five and 10 feet thick.

Neta said that they were all safe on a shoreline, and a helicopter was on its way to take them to a nearby town.