Geology has landed Gary Vivian in some extremely remote Northern locations, and a few of those landings had his heart in his throat.
With a career that has spanned more than 40 years, he’s climbed aboard planes and helicopters thousands of times, bound for destinations that many Northerners have never seen. One trip made him fear for his life when the Beaver he was flying in lost engine power due to a frozen fuel line while outside of Rankin Inlet.
“(The pilot) called mayday a couple of times going down. Although you sort of sh*t your pants, I didn’t really think that we were going to hit that hard because those Beavers glide pretty well,” he recalls.
The plane was on wheel-skis and bounced off a frozen lake, coming to a stop without tragedy. “He did a good job,” Vivian said of the pilot. He’s also saved people from helicopter crashes on different occasions. But he was sure to praise the safety records of Northern airlines as the vast majority of his trips went without a hitch.