Canadian Press – Danny Taillefer and Jason Leger were in the middle of a first aid refresher course when the phone rang. Shawn Rideout, the chief rescue officer with Ontario Mine Rescue, was on the other end. There were 39 miners stuck underground at Totten Mine near Sudbury, Ont., after the mine shaft was compromised, he said.
There was another way out: climbing a complex warren of ladders at the Vale-owned mine from about a kilometre underground. Taillefer and Leger — mine rescue officers with the non-profit who were based in Timmins, Ont. — were told they were needed for a complicated mission, and instructed to bring several hundred kilograms of rope and other gear.
Not long after the call on Monday last week, they got in a truck and motored to the mine in Worthington. The operation that ensued turned into what Taillefer and Leger called the most stressful event of their lives.
“You just couldn’t control the tears coming out,” Taillefer told The Canadian Press when recalling some of the most intense moments of the mission. “You just walk away, wipe your eyes, get it together and then get back at it.”
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