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11 Killer Whales Swim To Freedom After Being Trapped By Ice

Happy ending!

On Wednesday morning, 11 killer whales were discovered trapped in ice, off the coast of the small Inuit village of Inukjuak.

Marina Lacasse / AP

A local hunter discovered the orcas, two of which were adults, with nine younger whales.

Maggie Okituk / Reuters

The 11 whales were confined in a space of about 30 feet by 30 feet, which they used as an opening for a breathing hole.

Maggie Okituk / Reuters

The whales began to panic, trying to find open water, but were unable to, being surrounded completely by ice.

The Canadian Press, Marina Lacasse / AP

Typically an icebreaker ship would be brought in to free the whales, but the closest crew was 36-hours away.

Maggie Okituk / Reuters

Villagers of Inukjuak held a public meeting and decided to cut a half mile of holes for the whales to travel through, on the way to open water.

Maggie Okituk / Reuters

Villagers were prepared to use chainsaws to break holes and propellers to warm the ice, but a shift in current broke the ice naturally, allowing the orcas to escape.

Marina Lacasse / AP

Bye whale family!

Marina Lacasse / AP

(Sources: CNN, NBC News)

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