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Man missing for eight days

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 19, 2011

The search for a missing 22-year-old Kugaaruk man resumed Dec. 14 after it was suspended due to blizzard conditions the previous day.

RCMP Sgt. Jimmy Akavak identified the missing man as Bernard Pujuardjok.

Senior administrative officer Robert Ferland said Pujuardjok left Kugaaruk around 11 a.m. on Dec. 5 en route to Taloyoak to see his girlfriend but never arrived. He added Pujuardjok travelled by snowmobile, and had, as far as people in the community know, an additional five gallons of fuel - but he was very lightly dressed.

Search-and-rescue volunteers and the Canadian Rangers from Kugaaruk, joined by the rangers from Taloyoak, found Pujuardjok's grub box some 40 to 50 miles from the community on Dec. 12 but had to return due to bad weather, said Ferland.

"We found his grub box," he said. "It's on the way to Taloyoak and we did search in that area yesterday (Dec. 12) and we will resume that search tomorrow (Dec. 14) in that area."

Akavak said that grub box led to more clues.

"SAR located foot tracks leading away from the grub box in two areas heading in a (southeastern) direction. The bearing of these tracks are toward Kugaaruk," stated Akavak via e-mail. "This continues to be a rescue effort."

The trip from Kugaaruk to Taloyoak usually takes eight to 10 hours, depending on the person's knowledge of the land, the weather and the type of snowmobile.

"In this case, he was not very familiar with the land and he was not equipped according to the terrain where he was going," said Ferland.

Between 30 and 40 volunteers participated in the search, he added, and four were set to come from Resolute on Dec. 13 but could not make it because of the weather.

"I would not risk search, and rescue and Rangers' life out on the land if I did not believe he was still alive," said Ferland.

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