International support for miner rescue has been ‘heartwarming’, president says

The recent successful rescue of two miners trapped in a mine in the Dominican Republic for more than a week was made possible thanks to support from the international community, including direct support from the Royal Canadian Air Force, the center said. company president said. of the incident.

Paul Marinco, head of the Dominican mining company known as Cormidom, said Canada played a key role in shipping equipment that would ultimately help free the men from Operation Cerro de Maimon. rice field.

The ordeal of the miners forced Gregores Mendez and Carlos Yepes to spend 10 days, from July 31 to August 9, trapped 31 meters underground.

Domestic support for the rescue effort is strong, Marinco said, with Dominican President Luis Abinader making daily calls to check on the status of rescues, and various government departments providing direct assistance on the ground. said.

However, he said experts from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom were also involved, with the Canadian government playing a key role in obtaining and providing equipment for the rescue operation.

“It was heartwarming to actually see the reaction,” Marinko said in an interview with Zoom.

Marinko said the company took action shortly after a “ground collapse” that trapped miners in the 400-square-meter space. Within 15 hours of the incident, he said, crew members involved in the rescue drilled holes to carry water, food, walkie-talkies, entertainment and light sources.

Nevertheless, Marinko said the experience was terrifying for the two men.

Miners eventually reported that the water level rose and eventually reached waist height, but Marinko said they were able to pump water six times faster than the inflow rate. increase.

“You can imagine being trapped and seeing the water level rise and knowing that rescue won’t be quick. So they had some scary moments,” he said. I was.

After assessing what equipment would be needed to safely rescue the miners, Marinko said the company has begun tracking them abroad.

Machines Rogers International is a mining company based in Val d’Or, Coué. Agreeing to lend Comidom the necessary machinery, the Dominican government contacted Ottawa to help transport the gear.

“The problem for us was transportation…it was beyond our resources. We didn’t have the ability to do it,” Marinko said.

The Royal Canadian Air Force shipped a mining drilling system to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, on August 7.

Defense Minister Anita Anand issued a tweet on Tuesday thanking Royal Canadian Air Force personnel involved in the mission.

“To our aviators – you make Canadians proud and we appreciate your service,” Anand wrote.

The two miners were discharged from hospital on Thursday and are now with their families, Marinko said.

The rescue came after a coal mine in Mexico collapsed, trapping 15 miners and fleeing five injured. Rescue divers’ initial attempt to reach the remaining 10 miners failed, Mexican officials said Thursday.

“I’m thinking of the poor people trapped in Mexico,” Marinco said. “We were lucky.”

The cause of the accident at Cerro de Maimon is currently under investigation and the underground mine is temporarily closed.

“We’ll be back when the authorities, and more importantly, I’m sure it’s safe,” Marinko said.

Nojud al Marez

canadian press