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Shifting sea ice frees trapped orcas: locals

MONTREAL - A leader in a northern Quebec village says about a dozen killer whales that were trapped under sea ice appear to have reached safety as the floes shifted on Hudson Bay.

Tommy Palliser says two hunters from Inukjuak reported the water had opened up around the area where the cornered orcas had been bobbing frantically for air.

The animals' predicament made headlines around the world.

Locals say the mammals had been trapped around a single, pickup-truck-sized breathing hole for at least two days.

Palliser says villagers had been planning to launch a rescue operation this morning to buy more time for the gasping killer whales.

He says the winds seemed to shift overnight, pushing the floating ice further away from the shore to open up the water.

Palliser says a group of community members held a prayer session last night for the killer whales.

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