Sergey Ananov was rescued Monday morning after the Canadian Forces Joint Rescue Coordination Centre received information about a missing helicopter on Saturday. He was attempting to become the first person to fly solo around the Arctic Circle in a small helicopter, cbc.ca reports.
According to Ananov, his intended trip from Iqaluit to Greenland began smoothly. The pilot took off Saturday morning into good weather conditions, flying sandwiched between a layer of fog below and clouds overhead.
"The belt that transfers the power from the engine to the gear was broken and the machine lost its power," Ananov said. "There are two valves, so one of them broke, and with one valve remaining the machine cannot fly horizontally."
Ananov's helicopter began to spin out of control, and he went "down, down, down." He tried to land on a nearby ice floe, but lost control and crashed into the Strait.
Ananov moved quickly, pulling himself, along with a life raft and limited supplies, including three flares, from the downed helicopter. He then swam to the nearest ice floe, climbed on, and started what he calls his "two-day-long ... survival."
Ananov spent nearly two days trapped on the ice floe, and says that while waiting for rescue was difficult, he knew that help was coming. Ananov bided his time, rationing what little food he had and melting ice in his mouth for water.
On Sunday evening, Ananov finally saw his salvation: the lights of the Pierre Radisson, a Canadian Coast Guard ship. "Luckily, by that time the fog, by the Northern wind, disappeared."
Seeing the lights of the ship, Ananov used his last flare, and was able to capture the attention of the Coast Guard. He was then rescued and is currently en route to Iqaluit, where arrangements will be made to fly him first to Ottawa, and then home to Russia.