Locals: Trapped whales freed with sea ice shift

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by CBS News

KREM.com

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 10 at 9:07 AM

MONTREAL A Canadian village leader says about a dozen killer whales that were trapped under sea ice appear to have reached safety after the floating ice shifted on Hudson Bay.

Tommy Palliser said Thursday that two hunters from Inukjuak village reported the water had opened up around the area where the cornered whales had been bobbing frantically for air.

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans said that it would send a helicopter to locate them, Isabelle Dubois of the Nunavik Tourism Association told CBS News.

Locals said the mammals had been trapped around a single, truck-sized breathing hole for at least two days.

Palliser says villagers had been planning to launch a rescue operation Thursday.

But he says the winds seemed to shift overnight, pushing the floating ice further away from shore to open up the water.

Mayor Peter Inukpuk had urged the Canadian government to send an icebreaker.
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