Peter Inukpuk, mayor of Inukjuak, Quebec, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. he called the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to request an icebreaker be sent to Hudson Bay to help the orcas.
The federal government is expected to send a team of experts to the site Thursday to check on the marine mammals, the CBC said. It's not uncommon for whales to be trapped by ice, a department spokesman said.
Twelve killer whales are in a small patch of open water about 18.5 miles off the coast at the eastern top of Hudson Bay. Martha Asudluak, 21, said she caught a ride on a snowmobile to go out to see them.
"I saw the big head popping out of the waters ... . I couldn't believe what I was seeing," she said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]