Nunavut Post

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Army probing Arctic military exercise that directed to search and rescue, medevac


Key takeaways:

  • ‘She was shivering so much that she couldn’t bear a cup,’ says the search and rescue leader.
  • On March 14, a similar patrol was put out from Igloolik to Sanirajak. 

In mid-March, the Canadian Army is probing a military activity launched between Igloolik and Sanirajak, Nunavut, which led to a call to search and rescue and one military member being flown out of the neighborhood for medical treatment in Iqaluit.

Accounts vary on what occurred and even who was part of the trip.

Maj. Susan Magill, who works for Joint Task Force North and was relaying data on behalf of the Army, said the exercise affected nine military members and six Canadian Rangers.

The group also had an ex-teacher from Igloolik and the grandchild of one of the Rangers, said George Innuksuk, chairman of the Sanirajak search and rescue committee, which was called out to support by the provincial RCMP.

The training was part of the Canadian Armed Forces Arctic Operations Course, conducted by the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre founded in Kingston, Ont. The center has the course yearly, and the field operation is based out of their Arctic Training Centre in Resolute Bay.

Also read: M.P.s hear about the effects of the northern housing shortage

the Canadian Army is probing a military activity launched between Igloolik and Sanirajak, Nunavut

The group was creating its way from Igloolik to Sanirajak by snowmobile on March 14. The approximately 70-kilometer journey is usually a one-day affair or less. 

The group faced white-out situations, said Inuksuk.

“You couldn’t see anything four feet ahead of you,” Innuksuk said. “In my head, why would anyone attempt to come to Sanirajak in a blizzard?”

Environment Canada records for Sanirajak on March 14 show wind gusts beating out at 85 km/h that day with gusts of 79 km/h in Igloolik. The agency does not seem to follow historic snowfall in either community. 

Capt. Tyler Murray, part of the operation, told the CBC they didn’t deliberately go out into a blizzard.  

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