It was a scene reminiscent of a motion picture "Big Miracle" which told a real life story of whales trapped under ice in 1988, and a small town trying frantically, but ill-equipped to free them.
In this real life scenario Thursday in the remote northeastern Canadian village of Inukjuak, 11 killer whales that were trapped with only a small area of open water for them to surface and get air, were able to free themselves, the Inukjuak mayor's office said.
Scouts sent to check on the trapped whales discovered a passage stretching some 40 km through the Hudson Bay, leaving a path to open water. The ice hole where the mammals had been trapped was empty.
"It was mother nature that helped them," Inukjuak Mayor Petah Inukpuk told NBC News.
"When there is a new moon, the water current is activated it could have helped completely trap them but in this case it caused an open passage out to the open water," he said.
The killer whales, also known as Orcas, were first discovered trapped under ice in the Hudson Bay Tuesday. Residents in the secluded Inuit village watched helplessly as the whales, ranging in size from 16 to 26 feet, struggled to breathe out of a hole roughly the size of a pickup truck, trying to survive.
The community requested assistance from the Canadian government, but the request was denied, officials said, because help was too far away. That was until the whales apparently helped themselves.
Updated Date: Jan 11, 2013 11:18 AM