The escape from Totten this week tested the mettle of more than three-dozen miners, but the task confronting rescue workers was just as daunting. About 90 people altogether were involved in the extraction effort, said Ontario Mine Rescue vice-president Ted Hanley, with Shawn Rideout, the organization’s chief mine rescue officer, charged with overseeing the response.
“It was all hands on deck, and really well-oiled in that there was a day shift and a night shift transition, for the surface operations, at least,” said Hanley. “It was a little more difficult for the underground rescue workers.”
Five mine rescuers with OMR toiled alongside 45 volunteer responders with Vale, stringing ropes to help the stranded workers to surface. Many of the volunteers remained underground for 24 hours at a time, said Hanley, while the OMR crew went down at 3 a.m. Monday (after a detailed action plan was laid out) and “didn’t come up for over 48 hours. So they were down there for the long haul.”
Many more individuals were serving in support and coordination capacities above ground. “We had Vale workers bringing in supplies who weren’t even rescuers, but just familiar with the manway system,” said Hanley.
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