Inuit people call for Canadian government to send icebreaker to free pod of mammals that are struggling to surface for air
UPDATE:Killer whales free after being trapped by Hudson Bay ice
The mayor of the remote Inuit community of Inukjuak, Quebec, is calling on the government to send an icebreaker to save the panicking mammals, who are taking turns breathing through a hole in the ice about the size of a pick-up truck in the frigid waters.
"They are trapped," mayor Peter Inukpuk told CBC radio on Wednesday. "It appears from time to time that they panic. Other times they are gone for a long time, probably looking for another open space, which they are not able to find at the moment."
He said a hunter first spotted the whales on Tuesday. There were 11 whales, including several small ones, which could mean they are all from the same family.
Inukpuk said it was unusual to see the killer whales in the area in January but that the waters were late to freeze this year. The mayor said he had asked the Canadian government to send an icebreaker as their community of 1,800 people was not equipped to save the whales.
The Canadian government's fisheries and oceans department is sending specialists to the site to determine what, if anything, can be done, according to Frank Stanek, a spokesman for the department.
He said the department was "assessing the situation and exploring every possible option".
Contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
VIDEO Killer Whales near Inukjuak, Quebec