Nunavut Post

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Nunavut guy outlives 5-day blizzard, loses hands to frostbite


Key takeaways: 

  • Arviat’s Ernie Eetak states wearing formal clothing rescued his life while left on the tundra. 
  •  Eetak outlived five days in the frostiness after his snowmobile cracked down on a lone caribou hunting trip approximately 30 kilometres from Arviat.

A Nunavut man loses hands after surviving for 5 days in cold: 

Arviat hunter Ernie Eetak outlived five days in a blizzard, on the border of dying, and had both hands amputated due to extreme frostbite, but he states that won’t prevent him from hunting for his Nunavut community. 

“I died for five days and came back to life,” stated Eetak from his clinic bed in Winnipeg, where he was taken after being saved. Source –

On Dec. 3, Eetak, a professional hunter, set out unaided by snowmobile to hunt caribou approximately 30 kilometres from Arviat, the southernmost mainland neighbourhood in Nunavut located on the western border of Hudson Bay. 

His snowmobile cracked down, but he quickly superseded the spark plugs and got it operating again.

“I saw the lights of Arviat,” he stated. However, his luck was quick — his snowmobile ceased functioning again. He attempted to pull start for an hour but the machine wouldn’t run. Source –

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Nunavut man survives 5 day blizzard after he loses both of his hands

So he started the extended walk back to town in the dark.

Hunter wore formal clothes 

He could listen to open water and halted to take a long hiatus near a big rock.

A wolverine roused him up, and he held his hunting gear and followed his way back to his snowmobile.

Peak states he usually goes out on the land wearing clothing made of caribou and bearded seal, as well as caribou antler sunglasses. He credits the traditional clothing he wore on his journey with protecting his life. 

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