A man and a boy are missing after setting out on a snowmobile to travel from Igloolik to Hall Beach, Nunavut.

The two communities are now conducting a joint search and rescue operation for the man, in his 20s, and a 13-year-old boy, says Igloolik Mayor Celestino Uyarak. Uyarak said the man is from Hall Beach, and the youth is from Igloolik.

The two set out on the approximately 70 kilometre journey shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday evening, according to Uyarak.

Igloolik-Selkirk map

"It's an emergency," said Uyarak.

Weather conditions were not favourable the past few days in many regions of the territory

"The last couple of days, we have had blizzard and sudden wind," said Uyarak.

Wind gusts reached up to 60 km/h Monday in Igloolik, and up to 71 km/h on Tuesday in Hall Beach, with reduced visibility.

Uyarak said that on a nice day, it can take up to two hours to travel to Hall Beach on the snowmobile trail which covers frozen water. 

"On a bad weather day, it could take days," said Uyarak. He said strong winds and poor visibility could have altered the travellers' routes.

Search and rescue hindered by weather

Local search and rescue teams came back empty-handed late Tuesday.

"Hall Beach called this morning, sometime after five o'clock, again without success."

Uyarak says he hopes to get an aircraft to help in the search, once the weather clears up. 

Igloolik Search and Rescue reports it has 12 snowmobiles involved in the search, assisted the by the Canadian Rangers. They will setup a basecamp and continue searching, while search and rescue personnel in Hall Beach plan to do the same.

Uyarak said the local search and rescue coordinator is communicating with the government's emergency division about getting extra help.

Meanwhile, they'll continue with the ground searches.

"For all Nunavummiut, please do be careful and listen to our elders when we're told not to travel, especially when bad weather is picking up," said Uyarak.

"Elders know best."

With files from Pauline Pemik