Two workers missing
Search suspended after landslide in gravel quarry near Montreal
MONTREAL • A search was suspended Tuesday night for two workers who are believed to have been buried in a landslide in a gravel quarry in L’Épiphanie, the Sûreté du Québec said.
A torrent of earth swept along two trucks and one excavation vehicle at about 11 a.m. Tuesday. The workers are believed to be in heavy vehicles that are upside down in the gravel.
The undercarriage of one truck was visible from above, but the other was buried deeper, said a witness on site. Because of the continued instability of the walls and floor of the quarry, ambulances or mechanical diggers could not enter the vast crater to dig out the victims.
Rescuers only had access on foot, lowered down by ropes.
Provincial police spokesman Benoît Richard said specialists working with rescue crews recommended suspending the search until morning.
He said search teams need to be able to see how the gravel in the pit might shift while they worked.
Repentigny, Que., police spokesman Bruno Marier said rescue workers would attempt to bring heavy search equipment down to the site Wednesday morning.
Earlier on Tuesday, a special Spiderman team trained to rescue people from great heights went down approximately 90 metres to the base of the quarry.
Firefighters from Repentigny, roped together for safety, went down with shovels to try to establish contact with the missing workers.
The rescue team was armed with thermal imagery machines to detect signs of life.
Police, firefighters and at least one sniffer dog were on site.
The Maskimo quarry is in the Laurentians, 50 kilometres east of Montreal. It is used to mine sand and gravel.
A third worker, who was driving the excavator, managed to escape. He was airlifted out by SQ helicopter at about 12:20 p.m. He was suffering from frostbite, but was not seriously injured, Richard said.
Questions have been raised as to why the heavy vehicles were working in a part of the quarry that was so unstable. The CSST will launch an investigation.
Rescue team members search for missing workers in a quarry at L’Epiphanie, Que., on Tuesday after a landslide swept vehicles into the quarry. Two workers were believed to have been buried in the gravel.