A flickering light spotted in the darkness has given search and rescue crews faint hope that the mayor of Kimmirut, Nunavut, is still alive after disappearing several days ago.
Mayor Jamesie Kootoo, an experienced outdoorsman, has survived perilous situations before — but this time he may have insufficient survival equipment with him.
Maliktoo Lyta, with the search and rescue committee trying to find Kootoo, said they aren't ready to give up on the 67-year-old community leader.
"Last night, spotters from Iqaluit on an aircraft saw a dim light that lasted for just a few short [seconds], and on their way back to Kimmirut, spotters were able to see the light again," Lyta said.
Kootoo left for a caribou hunt on Saturday, and was due to return the same day.
Blizzard conditions have hampered search efforts, but rescue teams continue to battle the elements.
Searchers have established a base camp near Qurvik Lake, and were still on the ground and in the air on Thursday. Police said the weather appeared to be relatively clear for the day.
Injured Kootoo pulled from ravine in 2008
This is not the first time Kootoo has needed help from search and rescue teams.
Before becoming mayor, Kootoo was pulled from a ravine after spending 18 hours in sub-zero temperatures in the aftermath of a March 2008 snowmobile accident.
A Ranger at the time, Sgt. Jamesie Kootoo had been injured while helping patrol the Qimualaniq Quest sled dog race on southern Baffin Island.
The team found the then 64-year-old at the bottom of a ravine, bleeding internally and unable to move or even reach for his satellite phone because his pelvis was broken.
An official told CBC News that Kootoo survived the ordeal thanks to his experience on the land and because he was dressed for the weather.