At least 12 killer whales trapped under the ice near Inukjuak, Quebec were freed Thursday when floes shifted on Hudson Bay, according to the Inukjuak mayor’s office.
As winds shifted, so did the ice, and a six-mile passageway to the open water appeared.
The pod of orcas was first spotted near the village on Tuesday by a hunter. Experts believe the whales swam into the area during recent warm weather.
The alarmed residents watched helplessly as the whales fought to breathe out of a single hole just larger than a pickup truck. The community asked the Canadian government to help free the orcas, but the government denied its request, saying that icebreakers were too far away to help.
The remote town of 1,184 residents was unequipped to save the whales itself. Instead, to raise awareness and perhaps gain support for a rescue, Inukjuak residents posted the above video (with oddball soundtrack) to the web.
Johnny Williams, the town's manager, told Yahoo! News that locals rejoiced when they heard the orcas had been freed.