An overland expedition that left Yellowknife earlier this month says it made it to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, but lost one of its seven vehicles through the ice on the way to return to Cambridge Bay.
In an update Thursday, The Transglobal Car Expedition said no one was injured when one of its vehicles was “unfortunately lost” to “fast moving ice on a strong current”.
The team did not say which of the vehicles it lost – it took three modified Ford F-150s and four amphibious vehicles – but Nunavut RCMP confirmed it was one of the Ford trucks that drove through the ice cream.
RCMP said they received the call about the incident, northwest of Taloyoak, early Thursday morning and called Nunavut Emergency Management for a response.
The expedition team says they are working to recover the vehicle.
A spokesperson for GoodGear, the Swiss nonprofit parent company behind the expedition, said no team members were available for an interview on Friday.
The expedition claims this is the first-ever overland journey on wheels between North America’s continental shelf and the High Arctic. Andrew Comrie-Picard, a Canadian member of the expedition, previously told CBC News that the trip to Resolute would be month-long preparation for a full expedition taking place next year.
Once this journey begins, the team will travel from the southern tip of South America to the North Pole and then through Greenland, Europe, Asia and Africa. They will then cross Antarctica and return to their starting point in South America. It will take them a year and a half.
Prior to the incident, the trip had received a nod from the Nunavut Legislative Assembly.
On Tuesday, Quttiktuq MLA David Akeeagok told his colleagues, in Inuktitut, that “some kind of vehicle” had arrived in Grise Fiord that day unexpectedly, noting “it was good to see these new things happen” and “it’s not something we see every day.”
The expedition made headlines earlier this month for landing in Yellowknife on a Russian charter plane.
In its statement to the media, the TransGlobal Car Expedition said the loss of a vehicle through the ice will inform the necessary safety precautions for the entire expedition. He also said global warming is making ice travel more dangerous for Indigenous communities and “other ice travellers”.