Hunter uses harpoon to save rescuer

An Inuit hunter stranded on a drifting ice floe used his harpoon to save a helicopter pilot who had come to rescue him.

Now safe and warm at his home in Arviat, Nunavut, Joe Karetak and his son spent a marrow-freezing 24 hours adrift on icy Hudson Bay before being plucked from danger by a military helicopter.

But that wasn't until they had spent all night in -56 C temperatures after being stranded on the ice floe while seal hunting.

Karetak says he thought their ordeal was over when a Hercules search plane spotted the glow from his son's flashlight on Wednesday.

But the small helicopter that came to save them broke through the ice when it landed.

Karetak barely managed to pull the pilot to safety with his harpoon.

Shortly after, search-and-rescue technicians parachuted onto the ice with rescue gear.

The whole crew was lifted off the ice shortly after by a military helicopter from Alberta.

Karetak says the secret to survival was staying focused until help arrived.

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