Cold kills following fire
Woman's husband survives 36 hours in makeshift shelter

Yellowknife (May 01/00) - A 53-year-old woman died of hypothermia after escaping from her burning cabin last weekend.

Margaret Lyall and her husband Johnny Lyall were asleep when a candle set their bedroom curtains on fire April 21. The fire forced the couple into the freezing night wearing nothing more than their night clothes.

The cabin, located about four kilometres outside of Cambridge Bay, burned to the ground. The couple huddled together with only caribou skins and a tarp to protect them from harsh storm conditions that persisted throughout the weekend.

Mrs. Lyall only survived the night and the next day before succumbing to the cold on Saturday evening.

Mr. Lyall, however, managed to survive 36 hours under the makeshift shelter before being found by an RCMP search party passing through the area on the afternoon of April 23.

The search party was looking for a group of overdue campers when they came upon the burned-out cabin and the couple.

Mr. Lyall was taken to the local health centre where he was treated for minor burns and then later released.

The RCMP, the Nunavut Coroner's Office and the Nunavut Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the matter.