A dozen orcas, trapped under ice and facing death on Canada’s frozen Hudson Bay since Tuesday, have escaped.
The whales gathered round a hole in the ice that provided the pod with their only source of oxygen.
The plight of the mammals drew hundreds of locals from the nearby northern Quebec village of Inukjuak to monitor their progress.
Overnight winds shifted and cleared a passageway to open water a few kilometres away.
The Canadian government had earlier rejected a request to send icebreakers to the area claiming the 1,500 kilometre distance between Montreal and Inukjuak was too great.
Instead the orcas put their faith in nature and initiative.