Killer whales freed after being trapped under ice

By Efrosini Costa

A pod of killer whales, which captured hearts around the world, as they lay trapped beneath a vast stretch of sea ice off the coast of Canada, may have finally escaped.

Local authorities and residents of Injukjuak, the native Inuit community located far north of Quebec, had called on the Canadian government to help the whales by sending in an icebreaker to free them.

But overnight, Canadian media reported that a shift in winds, which most likely broke up the ice, might have freed the mammals from their plight.

A hunter first spotted the distraught pod of nearly a dozen large and small whales in the early hours of Tuesday, earlier this week.

Worried locals had since monitored the mammals gathering around the only hole in the sea ice, and taking turns to surface, thrusting themselves into the air in a desperate attempt to take in much-needed oxygen.

It had caused so much commotion that even a local polar bear has curiously approached the scene to see what the fuss was all about.

Injukjak’s mayor, Peter Inukpuk, believes the dramatic drop in temperatures in the area over the last week may have caught the orcas off-guard, causing them to become trapped under the ice.

Inukpuk had called on the government to help break the ice, to make way for a safe passageway of open water for the whales, as distressed locals – ill-equipped to help them – were left to watch the desperate event unfold.

Locals, worried that the situation could become much worse as the hole appeared to be shrinking in freezing temperatures, were told the icebreaker would not make it there in time, and instead took it upon themselves to use drills and chainsaws to widen the breathing hole.

However, after returning to the site early yesterday to begin their mission, they failed to spot the pod in the trapped area, leaving them to believe they had managed to escape overnight.



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