Canada_ (Commonwealth) _ The walrus that three hunters from Sanirajak, Nunavut, shot attempted to pull itself onto their boat, throwing them into the freezing water, turning a Saturday walrus hunt into a life-or-death crisis for them. “All I could think was that we were going to perish. I simply thought about it “Joey Sarpinak, one of the three hunters who had returned home safely, recalled.
At the edge of the floe close to the town of around 900 people, Sarpinak, Sandy Kunuk, and 15-year-old John Kirk Amagoalik had departed in a tiny aluminum boat. Kunuk fired a shot when they noticed a walrus. The walrus suddenly surfaced at the rear of the boat and began climbing on top of it, the man remembered.
“They are known to jump on top of the ice when they are injured, therefore I believe that’s why the walrus hopped on our boat.” The animal’s tremendous heft was too much for the little boat and it capsized. Sarpinak claimed he was able to clutch the side of the boat as it was about to tip over after the three hunters were tossed into the ocean. Sarpinak climbed on top of the capsized ship while there was enough air trapped in the hull to keep it afloat.
By 2:00 p.m., the hunters called for help, and local search and rescue personnel responded. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s meteorological records show that the temperature was -20 C at the time. Yet it took them six hours, until the sun had set and the ice had frozen, for the hunters to be able to crawl over it to safety due to strong ocean currents and drifting ice. One of the volunteers, George Innuksuk, claimed that when one of the volunteers was hurt while en route to aid the trapped guys, the rescue effort grew more challenging.