(NEW YORK) — A group of 20 tourists, including two Americans, are back on land after being trapped on a drifting ice floe in the Canadian Arctic.
The tourists were camping out on the ice floe just north of Arctic Bay, Nunavut, as part of a tour with the guide company Arctic Kingdom. They routinely take tourists, film crews and scientists to camp in an area that is very active in whale and polar bear migrations as well as near a national park.
The 20 people who were out on a tour earlier this week included visitors from the U.S., Jordan, France and Australia. There was also an Inuit hunting group of between 10 and 12 people about 20 miles away that became stranded on the ice floe.
Arctic Kingdom’s president and chief expedition officer Graham Dickson believes it was irregular weather patterns that led to the ice floe’s moving away from the land, stranding the group.
The tour group was planning to camp out the entire week so they had plenty of equipment, Dickson said, including food, heated tents, dining tents and kitchen equipment.
“Nobody was in any immediate danger at any time,” Dickson said, but he emphasized that the situation still called for caution.
On Tuesday night, the wind switched direction and the ice moved close enough to shore so that everyone could get off the ice floes.
“Both groups were able to get back to solid land, which was the best of all outcomes,” Dickson said. “The idea that a 30-mile section would move all at once is extremely [unusual] … it’s the first time in 14 years of running trips that that happened.”
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