Trapped whales make it to open waters

Jan. 10, 2013 at 2:07 PM

INUKJUAK, Quebec, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A dozen killer whales that had been trapped by thick ice for three days in Quebec's Far North made it to open water Thursday, local officials said.

The whales became trapped Monday as ice shifted behind them while they were migrating in the Hudson Bay, The (Montreal) Gazette reported. A hole in the ice about the size of a large pickup truck allowed the marine mammals to keep breathing.

"We had strong wind coming in from the northeast late last night and it cracked a huge section of the ice," Johnny Williams, the city manager in Inukjuak, near where the whales were stuck, said Thursday. "The whales are gone now, and we're pretty happy about that."

Inukjuak Mayor Peter Inukpuk said it was not normal for killer whales to be seen in the area in the winter.

"Plenty of people are headed out there, they're worried and they don't know why we're seeing this kind of thing in the winter," Inukpuk said. "It's not normal."

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