It began with an ominous rumbling. Three men from Toronto were standing more than a hundred metres beneath the surface of Nova Scotia. They’d come to visit the Moose River quartz mine, having just leased it. But while they were down there inspecting the tunnels on that Easter Sunday in 1936, a distant noise caught their attention
The three men didn’t have a lot of experience with mining. Dr. David Robertson was chief surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children. Herman Magill was a lawyer who lived in Forest Hill. Alfred Scadding was their bookkeeper and timekeeper. They don’t seem to have realized how unsafe the mine was; it had long been out of service and only recently reopened. But even they knew that rumbling sound couldn’t be good. They ran.
All three rushed back to the lift and piled in, pulling the cord to call for the operator to bring them up. But at that same moment, the rock above them came crashing down. As they leapt back into the safety of the tunnel, the roof collapsed with a chaotic roar.
And when the dust cleared, they found to their horror that the shaft had been blocked. They could pick their way up through the rubble for a while, but ultimately every exit was cut off. There was no way out. The Torontonians were trapped.
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