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Chopper rescues man with seizures
Health and safety supervisor at Kiggavik site near Baker Lake aids in rescue mission

Candace Thomson
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 11, 2014

A man from Baker Lake who went seal hunting with friends and family and didn't have his medication was rescued on July 22 by employees of Areva.

NNSL photo/graphic

Victor Aningaat's family and friends, who were on a six-day seal hunt with him, stand by as Aningaat receives medical attention for seizures from Curtis Rhinas. John Etegoyuk, in the centre of the group, called his co-workers at the Kiggavik mine site to form a rescue team after Aningaat started having seizures while on the land. - photo courtesy of Areva

Victor Aningaat was on the six-day seal hunt with his friends and family when he began to have seizures, something he experiences often and has medication for, according to a blog post on Areva's website. John Etegoyak, who was on the hunt and works at the Kiggavik site, called in their co-ordinates to the mine and a helicopter and rescue team was secured and dispatched.

Both Aningaat and Etegoyak were out on the land hunting and Nunavut News/North was unable to reach them for comment before press time, but Curtis Rhinas, a health and safety supervisor in his fourth week of work at the Kiggavik site was able to explain the rescue.

"I've never done a medevac before but I was a paramedic for a few years," said Rhinas, who said this is his first summer working with the mine.

"I was just kind of using my first aid skills that I still have," he said.

"It wasn't really weird doing it out on the land. I guess in the past I worked in a big area and we always had people outside the city a lot and we caught people out in isolation it was pretty standard, nothing that I haven't done before."

Rhinas said a nurse at the Baker Lake health clinic who is familiar with Aningaat's condition, which Rhinas said he couldn't share due to patient confidentiality, got medication ready for the rescue team to take to Aningaat if he wanted to take it.

"So we had maybe like a 40-minute flight going in and we found him and he was pretty tired, I guess it had been a couple hours since he'd had his last seizure," Rhinas said.

"I gave him the pills the nurse wanted him to take and he took them himself, then it was a normal flight home. He was quite tired so he rested on the flight back."

This is the second rescue Areva has taken part in within the past month, the first being the rescue of a young man who also had a medical condition and was stranded on the land with no food after the ice shifted, blocking his path back to the community.

"I'm just glad we could help a person out and I know Areva likes doing it because it's a good way to give back and everybody kind of benefits," Rhinas said.

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