An RCMP operation Tuesday along the now-closed Tibbitt to Contwoyto winter road involved the search and rescue for seven people in three different groups.

The RCMP searched the Mackay Lake area via helicopter starting Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. “Inclement weather conditions had impacted the ability to travel on the winter road system and with temperatures set to plummet overnight, there was some urgency to locate the parties,” RCMP state.

Police went in search of a total of six adults and one child, all of whom were traveling in areas on or near the now-closed winter road to the NWT’s diamond mines. The individuals were in three different groups or ‘parties’ as the RCMP states, and they were overdue to return home.

By 2:30 p.m. police had found two of the parties, four adults and one child, east of Mackay Lake. They were transported back to Yellowknife by helicopter. The third party was found south of Lockhart Lake on the winter road, they returned to Yellowknife around 6:15 p.m. on their own. No injuried have been reported to RCMP from any of the travellers.

The RCMP then flew the length of the winter road to the diamond mines and back to ensure no one else was stranded on the road. They were assisted in their search effort by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Great Slave Helicopters and Acasta Heliflight. While they searched, Yellowknife Ground Search and Rescue remained on standby.

“We are thankful the overdue travellers were located without incident, and returned to the Yellowknife area. We cannot impress enough, the need for travellers to respect winter road closures and avoid travelling on the closed roads” states Marie York-Condon, NT RCMP Media Relations.