De Beers sends helicopter from Victor mine to rescue stranded hot air balloonists

The rescue crew. Image from De Beers.

De Beers Group responded to an unusual request for assistance at a remote mine site in Ontario Friday morning.

The emergency response team at Victor mine received the request from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton Rescue Coordination Centre regarding two hot air balloonists who were reported to have blown off course and were forced to make an emergency landing in the muskeg in the north of the Canadian province, 100kms west of the mine. 

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. 

Aerial view of balloon crash site. Image from DeBeers.

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.”

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