Balloonists in America’s Challenge Rescued by De Beers Victor Mine Staff

The Gas Balloon travelled far into Northern Ontario
The Gas Balloon travelled far into Northern Ontario

Calgary, Alberta – This morning, the emergency response team at De Beers Group’s Victor Mine received a request for assistance from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton Rescue Coordination Centre regarding two hot air balloonists who were reports to have blown off course and forced to make an emergency landing in the muskeg in northern Ontario 100kms west of the remote mine site.

The balloonists, an American resident, and Polish resident were competing in the 23rd Annual America’s Challenge Gas Balloon race headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico and were racing to Duluth, Minnesota.

A helicopter stationed at the Victor Mine site was dispatched and recovered the two balloonists uninjured. The pair were flown back by helicopter to the mine site, where they were given a meal and the chance to shower before joining a contractor charter flight from the mine to Timmins Ontario.

“We are extremely proud of our Victor Mine team for their quick and professional action to what could have been a very serious situation,” said Al Collins, Superintendent Asset Services at Victor Mine who coordinated the support from the mine. “Weather in the remote northern region can be quite harsh this time of the year, but fortunately everything went well and we have a happy ending.”

The Victor Mine, Ontario’s first and only Diamond mine, which ended operations in May of this year is a multiple award winner for safety, including two national John T. Ryan Awards as the safest mine in Canada in 2015 and 2016.

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