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Fri, Jan 11, 2013

Helicopter On Rescue Mission Breaks Through Ice

Seal Hunters Had To Pull The Pilot To Safety, All Three Survive

Two seal hunters who had become stranded on an ice floe in the Canadian Arctic were probably pretty happy to see the helicopter that had been dispatched to rescue them ... but when the aircraft broke through the ice and started to sink, they suddenly found themselves in the role of rescuers.

The incident began on the west shore of Hudson Bay Tuesday night, according to a report appearing in the Canadian press, when the seal hunters were noted missing by relatives. An initial search found their snowmobile, and revealed that their boat was missing. Local residents tried to reach the men using another boat, but the frigid, slushy water caused the engine to freeze.

The two were spotted by a Canadian military Hercules, which dropped supplies and a radio. A civilian helo was contacted to complete the rescue.

But when the Jet Ranger landed on the floe, it broke through the ice and started to sink. The hunters hoping for a lift off the ice wound up sloshing through the water to pull the pilot to safety. The temperature with the wind chill was estimated at somewhere near -50 degrees centigrade.

The Hercules crew then parachuted two rescue technicians onto the floe, and all five waited until a military helicopter from Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake could finally lift them off the floating ice. 

The three civilians were treated for hypothermia, but were listed in good condition in a local hospital.

(Bell Jet Ranger pictured in file photo)

FMI: www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca

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