Lost Labrador snowmobilers home safely

·2 min read

What could have been a terrible tragedy was avoided on Wednesday when two young Innu who got lost on a snowmobile trip between Natuashish and Nain were found, relatively unharmed.

The cousins, Courage Nui and Dream Gregoire, had left Natuashish on short notice Tuesday afternoon and, according to their aunt Mary Ann Nui, gotten lost on the way back.

“I guess they wanted to come back to the community before dark and somehow, on the way back, they took the wrong trail. It took them more inland and they got lost.”

She said it was a very stressful night for the family once they discovered the young adults were missing, with family members mobilizing and taking the trip to Nain to see if they could find them. They found out the pair had been there and had headed back to Natuashish.

RCMP said they were informed of the missing snowmobilers at 3:30 a.m., and ground search and rescue teams from Nain and Hopedale were dispatched, as well as teams of searchers from Natuashish.

Nui said she wasn’t surprised the community and area mobilized so quickly to help with the search.

“People take it very seriously if someone in the community is missing. People respond to it right away,” she said.

Gregoire was found first, shortly before noon near Voisey’s Bay. Nui said the young woman had stayed with the snowmobile, while Courage Nui had left to walk to Natuashish for help.

He was found about an hour later by an Air Borealis aircraft that was sent to help with the search.

“When they found Dream first, it was good, but that was the hardest,” Nui, who is also the deputy chief of the Innu Nation, told SaltWire. “We were waiting for an update and when they found him, we were so relieved.”

Nui said she had feared the worst in the morning, and it had reminded her of past tragedies on the northern Labrador coast, including the death of Burton Winters.

Winters, 14, froze to death outside of Makkovik in 2012 when his snowmobile got stuck in sea ice. His death prompted an inquiry into ground search and rescue in the province that is currently in the beginning stages.

“Luckily for our family it wasn’t what happened, but I was thinking about it all morning,” she said. “I can’t imagine what his family felt.”

Nui said as far as she knows the pair were unharmed but exhausted, having stayed up all night before Courage left on foot at first light to get help. She said she can’t thank the searchers enough for the assistance and would like to especially thank Air Borealis, who quickly got on board to help.

Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram