F/V Saputi crew arrives in Iqaluit after Arctic fishing vessel damaged

People have gathered at the Iqaluit airport to welcome crew members from the F/V Saputi, after a harrowing ordeal at sea that ended with the damaged vessel in port in Greenland.

Crew members flown into Nunavut via 2 charters from Greenland

Iqaluit Rev. Mike Gardener, front left, leads a prayer circle for Nunavut crew members from the F/V Saputi. They arrived Friday afternoon in Iqaluit after their ship was damaged at sea. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

People have gathered at the Iqaluit airport to welcome crew members from the F/V Saputi, after a harrowing ordeal at sea that ended with the damaged vessel in port in Greenland. 

The F/V Saputi was fishing for turbot in the Davis Strait when it ran into ice Sunday night and began taking on water.

"We're still shaking," said Duane Taylor, who was on board the Saputi, as he arrived on the first flight Friday morning. 

Alaasua and Aaliyah are waiting for their dad to come home. He's part of the F/V Saputi crew flying into Iqaluit from Greenland today. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

Other crew members, including Todd Rumbolt and Darren Hawkes, were at a loss for words.

The crew — 30 people in all, including seven from Nunavut — had planned to get home earlier. 

"We had some challenges finding a suitable charter due to availability, and weather in Nuuk caused three days of delays," said Harry Flaherty, president and CEO of Qikiqtaaluk Corporation.

Andy Koapie, one of the F/V Saputi crew, says it was scary to be on a ship after it hit ice. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

The first flight arrived around 9:30 ET, carrying crew members who don't live in Nunavut. 

Local crew members arrived on a charter around 3:30 p.m.

Members of the public were invited to come and greet the fishermen at the airport.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax dispatched a C130 Hercules aircraft from 413 squadron in Greenwood, N.S., as well as the CCGS Louis St. Laurent icebreaker when the Saputi began taking on water Sunday night.

The crew of the Hercules dropped four extra pumps and aircraft continued to monitor the ailing vessel while a Danish navy ship escorted the ship to Nuuk, arriving Tuesday night.


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