A group of campers stranded in the Canadian arctic for almost two days after an ice floe broke off was rescued by helicopter on Wednesday.
High winds and fog had forced the Royal Canadian Air Force to abandon at least two attempts to pick up the 10 tourists and 10 guides from the three-mile long piece of ice shelf in the remote Nunavut territory. The group awoke Tuesday to discover the ice floe had broken free.
Major Steve Neta said that two CH-146 Griffon helicopters were able to extract them shortly after 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
“Thankfully everyone was in good condition,” he added. “It was a great cooperative effort and we’re very pleased the rescue went well.”
Graham Dickson, a spokesman for tour company Arctic Kingdom, said a change in the wind and favorable tides had pushed the ice back towards the coast near Lancaster Sound at the entrance of the Northwest Passage.
“The break was quite extreme, but they had all the right equipment to cope with problem,” Dickson said.
That allowed the campers – along with 10 local hunters that were also caught out by the drift - to find their way back onto safer ground.
Earlier, Captain Yvonne Niego of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the ice floe had floated almost five miles from the shore.
“I’m a local and I haven’t seen anything like this for a long time,” she added.