Nunavut man survives 5-day blizzard, loses hands to frostbite — and vows to hunt again

Arviat hunter Ernie Eetak survived 5 days in a blizzard, at the edge of death, and had both palms amputated due to severe frostbite, but he says that won’t stop him from attempting to find his Nunavut community. 

“I died for five days and got here again to existence,” stated Eetak from his hospital mattress in Winnipeg, where he was once taken after being rescued.

On Dec. THREE, Eetak, an experienced hunter, set out alone by way of snowmobile to seek caribou about 30 kilometres from Arviat, the southernmost mainland neighborhood in Nunavut located on the western edge of Hudson Bay. 

His snowmobile broke down, but he temporarily changed the spark plugs and got it operating again.

“I noticed the lighting fixtures of Arviat,” he stated. On The Other Hand, his luck was once fleeting — his snowmobile stopped operating again. He tried to pull start for an hour but the machine would not move.

So he began the long stroll back to the town in the darkness.

Hunter wore conventional apparel 

He may listen open water and stopped to take a protracted rest near a large rock.

A wolverine woke him up, and he grabbed his searching gear and adopted his footpath back to his snowmobile.

Eetak says he steadily is going out at the land dressed in clothing made from caribou and bearded seal, in addition as caribou antler solar glasses. He credits the traditional clothing he wore on his commute with saving his life. 

Nunavut man survives 5-day blizzard, loses hands to frostbite — and vows to hunt again

Eetak says he incessantly is going out at the land dressed in apparel manufactured from caribou and bearded seal, as well as caribout antler sun glasses. He mentioned it is because of his traditional apparel that he’s alive lately. (Facebook)

That night, temperatures were around –28 C at the tundra. Temperatures hovered among –25 and –30 for the whole week. 

“It was once very nice weather and dark and snowy,” Eetak stated.

However then, the wind kicked up, and when he attempted to build an igloo, the top winds blew his caribou mitts away. 

How a person and a boy survived for days lost in an Arctic snow fall without a supplies

Eetak hooked up his tarp over his snowmobile and kamotik, an Inuit-style sled. 

“Inside my tarp, I stayed for some time and slept and died again for five days and came back to life.”

Eetak said he noticed a vivid gentle and a bunch of people standing round him, and heard a “great music, like gospel tune.”

making plans to hunt again

Now awake, he could see his fingers have been icy and frostbitten “in point of fact bad.” But after 4 days of blowing snow and wind, the weather cleared, and he began the stroll to the town on Dec. 8.

“My left eye had ice, and my proper eye could see. It was a vibrant, sunny day,” he mentioned. “I walked for roughly an hour and seek and rescue found me. i was so satisfied.”

They introduced him to the nursing station, where he nearly died again, sooner than he was medevaced to Winnipeg. That’s where each his fingers had been amputated. 

Nunavut man survives 5-day blizzard, loses hands to frostbite — and vows to hunt again

Eetak (ᑮᓈᓕᒃ ᐅᓂ ᖃᑲᒥ) looking ahead to bearded seal in July 2020, in a photo published to the Inuit Hunting Stories of the Day Facebook group. (Facebook)

When he gets his prosthetics, Eetak said, he’ll go hunting again to feed his group. 

He steadily distributes usa food like caribou and arctic char and goes hunting along with his dad, who is an Inuk elder.

Eetak stated he is grateful to these who prayed for him and thought of him throughout the search and rescue efforts.

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