B.C. RCMP called to Nunavut to assist in extreme underwater recovery | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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B.C. RCMP called to Nunavut to assist in extreme underwater recovery

The B.C. RCMP's Underwater Recovery Team was called up to Nunavut to help with a recovery operation.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. RCMP

The B.C. RCMP Underwater Recovery Team helped their counterparts in Nunavut recover a body in extremely challenging circumstances. 

The victim was building an ice road over the Arctic Ocean in a bulldozer when the ice broke from underneath and he became submerged along with the machine, according to an RCMP press release.

Nunavut RCMP requested the assistance of the B.C. RCMP Underwater Recovery Team.

Once the specialized officers arrived in the Arctic, they used a remote operated vehicle – which can reach depths of 300 metres – to try and find the bulldozer as it fell to a depth “well beyond most divers’ capabilities,” the release read.

Highly-skilled underwater investigators were chosen to respond, as they have experience with the remote control underwater machines, and also with cold weather operations.

The team was up against a number of challenges – the site was in a remote part of Nunavut, the ice was five to six feet thick, and temperatures dipped as low as -41 Celsius and -53 C with a windchill.

Officers used the remote operated vehicle to "quickly" located the bulldozer at “an extreme depth” of 159 metres, the release said. 

But after finding the bulldozer, the remote operated vehicle became tangled in a rope that was used as a reference line.

So the the RCMP National Underwater Recovery Training Centre was called for backup. Their remote operated vehicle is a newer model with more capabilities. It was used to open the door of the bulldozer and extricate the operator, and also free up the tangled older model.

READ MORE: Keremeos RCMP officer rescues stuck moose

The man's body has been returned to his family.

“My condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of the operator,” Supt. Jim Elliott said in the release. “It was through the incredible technical skill and team effort of the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team were able to bring this tragedy to a resolution.”

It was the deepest underwater recovery conducted by the RCMP and the first underwater operation to take place north of the Arctic Circle.

“The recovery and investigation was done at significant depths and latitude, both of which was one of the most, if not the most complex recovery to date for the RCMP,” Supt. Elliott said.

An image of the submerged bulldozer, taken from the RCMP's remote operated vehicle.
An image of the submerged bulldozer, taken from the RCMP's remote operated vehicle.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. RCMP

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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