Rescues In The News

'Are ya still alive?' Métis hunter survives 24 hours outside after snowmobile accident, heart attack

by GEOS IERCC Duty Officer on January 10, 2018

Normand Preteau, 66, was rescued by a helicopter after getting stuck en route to Churchill, Man.

A Métis trapper survived a mild heart attack and 24 hours in the subarctic cold last month after his snowmobile got caught in metre-deep snow.

Normand Preteau, 66, was traveling Jan. 9 by himself from his remote camp to Churchill, a trek of about 240 kilometres, to meet his six children for a family reunion planned for mid-January.

Somewhere roughly 160 kilometres southwest of Churchill, Preteau, took a wrong turn and his snowmobile fell off the track.

"The trail disappeared in front of me. I had no idea exactly where the hard part was," he said. "The minute you got off the trail, you were in snow up to your belly."

For 12 hours, Preteau tried every trick he knew, but the snowmobile refused to budge. He found some wood to put under it and use pulleys attached to one of the few trees around. His snowmobile only sank deeper.

Sweaty and hot from trying to move his machine, he eventually gave up.

The temperature was around –37 C or –51 with the windchill, he said.

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