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Sailors rescued in Arctic fog after firing flares

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Two sailors have been rescued from an ice floe after firing flares when their boat sank in the Arctic.

An icebreaker, cargo ship and helicopter were among those involved in the rescue of the two Argentinian sailors, reports the Canadian Coast Guard and the CBC news website.

The men, Pablo Saad and Dario Ramos, were in the Bellot Strait, Nunavut, when their boat, ANAHITA, was broken by ice and sank.

Their emergency call was received by Marine Communications and Traffic Services in Iqaluit and the rescue was coordinated by JRCC Trenton, in Ontario.

Nearby ships asked to help included the commercial cargo ship, the Claude A. Desgagnés and a private sailing vessel.

In difficult foggy conditions, a crew from icebreaker CCGS Henry Larsen rescued the pair using the ship’s helicopter. The men were spotted  on an ice floe with their inflatable life raft. 

The stranded men used a flare to signal the helicopter, which was very helpful in the fog, says a Coast Guard spokesperson.

The image is  from the Canadian Coast Guard Facebook page. It shows the CCGS Henry Larsen crew: Helicopter Pilot Brad Marshall; Survivors, Pablo Saad and Dario Ramos; First Officer Louis Denhez and Leading Seaman Chad LeRiche.

The Canadian Coast Guard is nearing the mid-way point of its 2018 Arctic operational season, which runs into November.

The Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS) in Iqaluit has been open since mid-May. Up until the end of July, MCTS Iqaluit has provided support for 97 vessels in the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone.

These include Canadian Coast Guard ships, cargo ships, tankers, cruise ships, research vessels, bulk carriers, tugs, fishing vessels, pleasure crafts and adventurers. Heavy and difficult ice conditions this season may compromise the Northwest Passage transit of some vessels, the centre warns.

Sep 13, 2018