Military to investigate accident involving Canadian Ranger
The Canadian Forces will launch an investigation into a recent accident in Nunavut that left a Canadian Ranger recovering from a broken pelvis in an Ottawa hospital.
Ranger Sgt. Jamesie Kootoo, 64, was injured while helping patrol the Qimualaniq Quest sled dog race, which ran from March 15 to 23 on southern Baffin Island.
The Kimmirut-based elder was injured when the snowmobile he was driving fell into a ravine. He was found in the ravine about 18 hours later.
Capt. André Cantin with Joint Task Force North in Iqaluit told CBC News that members of 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group in Yellowknife will likely handle the investigation into Kootoo's accident.
Investigators will "look at all the angles, what could we do if there is any findings and any actions to be taken to avoid those type of accidents in the future," Cantin said Monday.
The results of the investigation will be ready in about a month, Cantin added.
"If there is some correction that we have to make it happen, we will do it, and we will ask that to all the Rangers across the territory to adopt different strategies if we have to," he said.
The Canadian Rangers are part-time reservists who volunteer to provide a military presence in remote, isolated and coastal communities in Canada.
Most Rangers are aboriginal, and are skilled in the ways of the land in order to guide the regular forces through treacherous regional conditions.
Kootoo patrolling dog sled race
Kootoo was in charge of five other Rangers; they were ensuring safety during the second annual 320-kilometre race from Iqaluit to Kimmirut and back.
Around March 19, the sled dog teams had just started the return trip from Kimmirut to Iqaluit when Kootoo went to Kimmirut alone to pick up some spare snowmobile parts.
The other Rangers became worried when Kootoo did not arrive back at camp by morning, officials said.
A search and rescue team later found him in the bottom of the ravine, unable to move or even reach for his satellite phone because his pelvis was broken.
"He was seriously injured and he had internal bleeding, but he's doing a lot better," his son, Soudloo Kootoo, told CBC News on Monday.
Soudloo Kootoo said his father had his second surgery Monday in Ottawa. He will likely stay in hospital until June and hopes to make a full recovery, he added.
Despite lying in the ravine for 18 hours in sub-zero temperatures, Kootoo did not suffer frostbite.
Cantin credited Kootoo's experience on the land and the fact that he was dressed well for the weather for his survival.