5 whale scientists rescued

July 20, 2011 at 9:11 PM
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IGLOOLIK POINT, Nunavut, July 20 (UPI) -- Five whale scientists and guides have been rescued from sea ice in the far north regions of Canada, officials say.

The five had left Igloolik Point, Nunavut, July 14 to look for bowhead whales and became stuck on the sea ice Saturday, officials told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. They were reported missing late Monday after they failed to return to their base and a private helicopter was chartered to find and retrieve them.

"The helicopter picked all five individuals up off the boats and brought them into town. They're all in good health," Ed Zebedee, the Nunavut government's director of protection services, said Wednesday.

The group had abandoned their boats because they were running short on food, one of the guides told the CBC.

Efforts will be made to retrieve the two boats.

"My understanding is that they lashed the boats together because the boats are still trapped in the ice," Zebedee said. "They've activated a whale tracking collar on one of the boats so they can keep track of it, and hopefully eventually recover them once the ice breaks up and moves out."

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