A helicopter airlift carried hunters off a giant ice floe that went adrift near the Nunavut community of Arctic Bay, stranding 52 people.

“They were on the ice and a big pod of it broke away,” a government official told a reporter.

The people were involved in the spring hunt for narwhal and seal. They were evacuated half a dozen at a time by chopper after being caught on a pan of ice about 27 kilometres long, 29 km across and up to a metre thick.