Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
Incident Report: The Kiamuck Event
Summary: The exact details of the origin of the event are still being investigated, but some information has been retrieved. The event began at 01:47 October 21st 2004 at the loading docks located 20 miles from Kiamuck, Nunavut. The loading dock was utilized by the local populace to offload supplies from passing shipping vessels. Due to the topography of the waters around the island, an unusually deep channel was present along the shore, allowing large tankers to easily maneuver around the island and providing an effective shortcut back to shipping lanes. The island was used as a refueling and resupply depot for vessels leaving the inner islands, and the town that sprung up had a population estimated at 137 people. The town was located on the southeast side of the island, due to the presence of a small protected bay and a sheltering hill line on that side of the island.
Also of importance was a small industrial compound that had been set up on the western side of the island in 2001 after purchasing land from the town government. The ostensible owner, Futuro Industries, has proven to be a dummy corporation and attempts to trace the true owner have proven unfruitful. Statements taken by individuals who interacted with workers from this facility indicate the facility was involved in chemical research, though the nature of this research was unclear. Manifests for items offloaded for the facility were vague, fraudulent, or routine items. Of particular note was the manifest for the delivery on October 15. Cargo offloaded included two large chemical tanks of an unidentified, non-hazardous chemical and several pieces of unspecified heavy machinery. We have managed to track down one of the crew for that delivery, and he indicated that the machinery appeared to be some kind of scientific equipment. He also mentioned that the chemical tanks were handled and accompanied by Futuro Industries personnel instead of the crew. He also noted that several crewmen who had entered the storage hold containing the tanks noted that the hold felt unusually cold, even for winter. The witness states that the tanks and equipment were offloaded without incident.
At this point, information becomes sketchy. What is known is that on the 21st at 01:47, the Kiamuck Sheriff’s office reported a loud explosion from the western side of the island and what appeared to be a fire, based on flickering light coming from that side of the island. He would radio in again at 01:50 that there was evidently no fire, as the light had died out. Subsequent investigation of the Futuro Industries site indicates an explosion and fire did occur at the facility. The explosion did destroy one building, but signs of fire were extremely limited. Scorch patterns indicate the fires burned for less than one minute before being extinguished.
Security camera footage recovered from the Futuro site and the loading dock was spotty. Cameras at the Futuro site were recording onto hard drives when the ‘incident’ began and most were rendered inoperable or lost power due to the explosion. However, one hard drive managed to survive and record the incident. At 01:47, a pressure wave and bright flash can be observed on the footage, followed by flickering light consistent with fire. Over the next minute, the flickering light is extinguished. A low, hanging cloud of white fog begins to spread across the ground, slowly growing denser and higher. At 01:52, the lights illuminating the monitored area go out, and the footage displays a warning that system is now on battery power and will shut down. The footage captured behind this on screen warning is now completely dark, save for the occasional flicker of light.
Footage from the loading dock was more easily retrieved. The dock system was a VHS based system, and was not damaged in the explosion, so suffered no loss of power. The footage shows that at 01:58, a low heavy fog begins rolling in from the western side of the island. This fog appears to contain floating objects of what can only be described as ‘snowflakes’. However, at several points, electrical energy appears to arc through the cloud, appearing to originate from the snowflakes. As the fog envelops on of the lights on the dock, the light can be seen to flash then go out. This repeats as the fog overcomes each light. The fog swallows the first of the four dock security cameras. The footage from that camera goes blurry, and then cuts off. Slowing down the footage, we have determined that what happens is a rapid crystallization of moisture inside the lens, followed by fracturing of the lens and failure of the camera. At the same time code, a nearby camera records a bright flash. This repeats for each camera in succession.
At 02:05, Kiamuck’s sheriff reports a low hanging fog rolling in from the northeast shore. Weather records indicate a prevailing wind from the west that night, and the hills likely prevented the floating cloud from rolling straight across the island. The sheriff indicates he is sending his deputy with a chemical sensor to location to test if the cloud contains toxic substances, and that the emergency response services should hurry up. At 02:15, the sheriff radios in that he has lost radio contact with his deputy, and that the fog is ‘sparking’ as it rolls into town.
Emergency responders approaching Kiamuck from the west around 02:00 report sudden and extreme blizzard conditions. One fire response helicopter is lost in the pop-up storm. The two boats responding indicate they are unable to approach the island due to frozen seas. This is of particular note, as the route had been clear for the cargo ship on the 15th and ambient conditions for the previous week were unseasonably warm, which should have inhibited sea ice formation. Temperature data from the ships instruments indicated an air temperature low of -50 C. Weather maps for the time in question show an extremely dense storm, extending only a few miles off shore of the island. After withdrawing several miles, the air temperature rises to -1 C, Unseasonably warm for the area at night.
There was no further communication with the island. The pop up blizzard around the island persists for several days before subsiding. Observers indicate flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder inside the storm, and emergency response crews are prepped to respond at the nearest dock. It is decided that military rescue teams will be the first in, in order to assess damage and decide what resources are needed most critically. Overnight from October 25 to 26, the storm rapidly abates. At 09:00 October 26, it is determined the storm has dissipated, and first response by the Canadian Forces Search and Rescue is begun.
Video of their initial approach to the island by helicopter has been restricted due to security concerns, but summarizing, the island appears to be buried under large amounts of snow as they approach. However, as the helicopter comes down for a landing, the ‘snow’ collapses and disperses under the rotor wash, revealing it is a layer of hoarfrost several feet deep. The copter touches down in the exposed area, and initial recon begins. Air temperature is recorded as -20 degrees C, while temperature at the staging dock 20 miles away is 5 C. Also of note, ambient humidity is 0 at Kiamuck. The rescue team clears a path to the nearest structure to the landing site, a residential dwelling. The exterior of the house is coated in the thick hoarfrost present around the rest of the site, and all points of entry are frozen shut. After working on the door for several minutes, the team gains entry to the house.
Inside the house, there is a layer of frost coating everything the camera pans across. A search of the house finds two occupants, in the bedroom. They are covered in heavy clothing and blankets, but appear to have frozen to death.
The search of the island takes several days, during which the frost is broken up and the town unearthed. No survivors are found. A second team is also sent to the site of the Futuro Industries site. In addition to previously noted information about the site, it is important to note here that the conditions on the western side of the island are more in line with standard after blizzard conditions. Snow has drifted as deep as 6 feet in some places, and wind has flattened all structures on the site not damaged by the explosion. Bodies of 7 individuals are recovered from the site. Four appear to have died in the explosion. The other 3 present a far more interesting picture. Two recovered from the edge of the site appear to have frozen to death. However, a lack of frostbite in extremities or extracellular ice indicates a rapid freezing process of almost similar to flash freezing. The coroner estimates they must have reached temperatures near -200 C in less than 1 second.
More interestingly, closer examination revealed that the bodies did not cool from the outside to the inside, but rather cooled in a radiating pattern from a single wound. These wounds, on the forehead of one victim and hand of the other, are around 1 inch in size, and are, in the coroners words, unlike anything he’s seen before. His best approximation is that it is similar to frostbite, but far more violent. The skin came into contact with something that reduced its temperature so fast that the cells simply disintegrated due to cellular contraction and intracellular ice formation. As you move away from the wound, the severity is reduced but is still quite disturbing. His best guess is that they came into contact with something about the size of a quarter that somehow drained away all heat in their bodies in less than a second.
The final body throws more shadow onto the situation. The individual was killed by a massive electrical discharge, similar to what one might expect to see if he’d come into contact with high voltage equipment. No high voltage equipment was present where the body was found, and time of death was estimated to be around the time of the explosion. The burn pattern of the wound indicates the electricity struck him in the center of the chest, again not consistent with coming in contact with high voltage equipment by mistake. It bears more similarity to a lightning strike, though at far lower voltage and amperage.
The survey of the Futuro site turned up no information. All data was stored on electronic devices which shorted out or were damaged in the explosion. All material recovered from out buildings is either standard residential or industrial equipment that is normal for a remote operation. The contents of the main building were destroyed by explosion, fire or blizzard, though the remains of the lab equipment indicate it was some kind of laboratory for superconductor research. However, it was data uncovered in Kiamuck that would finally shed some light on what had happened.
A digital camera was found near one of the residents bodies. The camera contained a flash memory card with several photos and a single video on it. The photos appeared to be standard family photos, but the video, dated October 21st at 02:21 AM, has proven crucial to uncovering the truth of the incident. No transcript is available, as there is no sound on the recording, but I will summarize the contents.
The video starts abruptly. The camera is being pointed out a window, and it takes a moment to focus. When it does, the subject of the shot is apparently a strange white fog rolling down the street. The camera swings slightly and zooms in, showing that there what appear to be snowflakes in the fog, roiling slowly. There is a person standing in the street, apparently observing the fog rolling in. The next event is difficult to observe due to the quality of the video, but it appears one of the ‘snowflakes’ land on the left side of the person’s exposed neck. At this point, the person suddenly begins to spasm and falls to the ground after a second. It is difficult to make out, but it appears that his right leg has broken off just above the ankle, with the foot remaining stuck firmly to the ground. The camera zooms in and we can see the right half of the person’s face has turned blue and appears to have frozen, both figuratively and literally. After a few more moments, there is a bright flash, and the footage ends. A frame by frame analysis of this flash indicates it appears to begin at the victims left shoulder as an arc of electricity that is extending towards the house where the video is being shot from. Subsequent review of the logs of investigation of the town identifies what appears to be the body in the video. It was frozen solid, with its right foot broken off at the ankle but still upright a few feet away from the rest of the body. The house where the video was shot shows signs of a major electrical discharge scorching the siding just beside the window. The body of the frozen man shows significant cold damage to the extremities and major tissue damage on the left shoulder and left side of its face consistent with a lightning strike.
At this time, we have no further leads. Weather patterns at the island returned to normal by November 1st, and there has been no unusual weather reported since.
Credit To – Discardable