Inuktitut needs word for SPOT device: lost hunter
3 stranded near Igloolik last week brought along a flashlight instead
Confusion and bad luck: that's how Kenneth Immaruituq says he and two other hunters became stranded last week near Igloolik for almost three days.
All three were eventually found safe.
Immaruitug says their problems started when they got stuck on rough ice. Then they became disoriented when the wind shifted.
"We weren't aware the wind shifted when we were stuck," he said.
Immaruituq says they ended up travelling back the way they came, without realizing it. Then they ran out of gas.
Due to a miscommunication, instead of a SPOT locator device they had a flashlight.
Immaruituq says the problem is that there is no standard Inuktitut term for SPOT devices.
"Our elder told me to take 'the one that has light' so I thought he was talking about the flashlight," he said. "We had left it in the box where we were stuck earlier."
Immaruituq began walking. He says he saw many snowmobiles pass by but they were unable to see him.
He could hear seals blowing through holes and tried not to panic even though he was walking alone in polar bear country.
He walked alone for two days before being rescued. The other two were then picked up as well.
People in Igloolik celebrated their return and thanked search and rescue volunteers with a feast at the elementary school Monday.
Celestino Uyarak, the hamlet's assistant senior administrative officer, says the party was a joyous occasion and also a time for residents to reflect on what could have been a a tragic loss.