Arviat fishing trip turns into 3-day test of survival

A young Arviat man, Robert Gibbons Jr., and a drilling instructor from New Liskeard, Ontario, Robin Hood, got lost on their way home from a fishing trip during the annual fishing derby, and were found by a local hunter out looking for grizzly bear three days later.

A fishing trip turned into a harrowing ordeal for two men in Arviat, Nunavut over the weekend.

Robin Hood, a 59-year-old drilling instructor from New Liskeard, Ontario, is in Arviat teaching for two months. He had asked to join one of his students and his family during the community’s annual fishing derby.

On Saturday afternoon, Hood and Robert Gibbons Jr., 23, decided to head back to the community.

They ended up losing their path. Then the belt on their snowmobile snapped, and they were almost out of gas.

Neither of them had any survival gear.

In Inuktitut, Gibbons told the CBC he was scared, but Hood kept his hopes up for him.

“Do they even know we’re lost? ‘Yes, they’re searching for us, they’re going to find us.’ He told me things like that. I was scared for a bit but when he told me that, I knew we had hope.”

After sleeping next to the snowmobile, Hood and Gibbons decided to move to a flat area near a large rock.

Before heading over, they made an arrow on the snow to show where they were heading.

Once they arrived at their destination, they built a shelter and stayed there.

A search got underway on Monday afternoon.

Gibbons said they saw a plane heading towards them, “but as soon as it turned, we got really disappointed so we decided to get some rest.”

Later that night, John Tugak, a hunter our searching for grizzly bear, found the pair sleeping.

“I saw a person standing there and went flying out of the shelter,” Gibbons said. “I grabbed John and Robert woke up, I guess, right then as well, because he came flying out and pretty much pushed me aside to get to John as well.”

About 100 people were on hand to greet the pair as they returned to Arviat.

Hood, a father of five, is grateful.

“I'd just like to thank all the people of Arviat that volunteered to go out and find Robert and I,” he said. “There were still people out, so I'd like to thank those people for their dedication and everything else. They're awesome people and again, that's one of the reasons I love coming back here to work.”

Hood is now back to teaching and Gibbons plans to go out geese hunting.

But this time, Gibbons says he'll be better prepared.


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