North

Lifesaving society warns about ice safety in Nunavut

The Lifesaving Society in Toronto says five Nunavummiut drowned in 2009, an unusually high number given the size of the population.

Five Nunavummiut drowned in 2009, an unusually high number

Five Nunavummiut drowned in 2009. (Canadian Press)

Nunavut has seen an increased number of drowning fatalities in recent years.

The Lifesaving Society in Toronto recently issued its 2012 Canadian drowning report. The latest confirmed statistics from 2009 show five Nunavummiut drowned that year – an unusually high number given the size of the population.

Barbara Buyers, the public education director with the organization in Toronto, said that may be because the ice is melting earlier.

"People want to go boating and potentially swimming but just because the ice is not present it doesn't mean the water is not cold, so in many cases people choose to go swimming or boating early and if they end up in the water the shock of cold water is quite dramatic."

But Buyers has advice in case people do fall in.

"If you fall in the ice and you come up, just try and grab onto the side where the hole is in the ice, and try and just get your adrenaline under control and try and inch yourself out of the water without standing up. Just crawl on your hands or knees or just shimee to the side to keep the ice from breaking beneath you."

Buyers said it's important to travel with others, or tell people where you are going in case of emergency.

now