Close to 100 people helped in search for Joe Black, missing Tlicho hunter

RCMP say 80-90 would be a conservative estimate of the number of people involved with the search for a missing hunter who is recovering in hospital today.

65-year-old recovering at Yellowknife hospital

Royal Canadian Air Force personnel transfer Joe Black from a Hercules C-130 to a waiting ambulance at the Yellowknife airport. Black was missing for days near MacKay Lake before being spotted by searchers Wednesday. (submitted by Capt. Jeffrey McIsaac/RCAF)

A hunter who was found Wednesday after being missing more than 50 hours on the barrenlands is recovering today in Stanton Territorial Hospital.

Joe Black, 65, of Behchoko, N.W.T., became separated from his hunting companions and was caught in a snowstorm shortly after noon Monday.

Black was spotted near Murdock Lake Wednesday by a community member on board a helicopter with Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) spotters. The helicopter was able to land and pick him up.

Black was then taken to the Gahcho Kue diamond mine airstrip, where he was transferred to a Hercules C-130 that was also involved in the search.

Military search and rescue technicians on board the Hercules provided Black with medical attention during the flight to Yellowknife.

Royal Canadian Air Force personnel transfer Joe Black from a Hercules C-130 to a waiting ambulance at the Yellowknife airport Wednesday. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

RCMP said Thursday that a conservative estimate of the number of people involved with the search would be 80 to 90 people, including community members from Whati and Behchoko, CASARA spotters, Royal Canadian Air Force crew, Gahcho Kue mine staff, winter road staff, Air Tindi, ACASTA Heli Flights and RCMP. Yellowknife ground search and rescue were also on standby. 

An ambulance delivers Joe Black from a helicopter to a waiting Hercules at the Gahcho Kue mine airstrip Wednesday. (submitted by Capt. Jeffrey McIsaac/RCAF)

Helping Black make it home safely had an effect on the experienced RCAF crew.

"We train all the time for this sort of mission and we always hope for success, so when we see this and experience it, it makes us feel really good about the jobs that we do every day," said Capt. Jeffrey McIsaac.

"We all really love the jobs that we're in, and this is why."

McIsaac said it took the Hercules half an hour to make the 280-kilometre trip from Gahcho Kue to Yellowknife.

with files from Alex Brockman