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Search continues for missing Iglulik hunter

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Monday, June 18, 2007

IGLULIK - The family of an Iglulik elder who went missing during a hunting trip ceased its search last week, said Colleen Ulayuruluk, girlfriend of one of the missing man's sons.

Enoki Kunuk left to go hunting towards Gifford Fiord - approximately 60 to 70 miles northwest of Iglulik - on June 1.

By June 8, Kunuk had not returned home.

Kunuk's son, Eli, went out that same day to search for his father, said Ulayuruluk.

"Eli was looking for him where the search and rescue team is. Now he's trying to come back in."

Ulayuruluk did not know exactly how old the elder Kunuk is, but said he is "over 70 years old."

Roxanne Ulayuruluk, Eli's common-law wife, said Kunuk was an "experienced" caribou hunter and went out "very often" to hunt.

Asked how the family is feeling, she said, "Not too good. Very sad."

The Emergency Measures Organization sent out four snowmobiles on June 9 to search for Kunuk but encountered terrain too difficult to travel on, said RCMP Const. Michael Seidemann.

"There were poor snow conditions," he said. "It becomes too soft for them to go through, on the ice and on the land."

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton provided an aircraft for the search. But according to a RCMP press release dated June 11, "Due to poor weather conditions, the airplane was only able to search approximately 25 per cent of the set out search area.

As of June 12, Seidemann said the search was "still underway."

Seidemann said his investigation so far found that Kunuk had taken a considerable amount of supplies with him, although exactly what he took was unclear.

"He was prepared to be out there for a long time. The gear he had suggested he was going on a hunting trip for quite a while. He had lots of gear and equipment. It wasn't just a day trip he was taking."

Brian Fleming, the senior administrative officer for the Iglulik hamlet, said that Kunuk is "a very well-known person.

"Anytime someone is lost, it's a concern for the people in the community."