35 of 39 workers rescued as recovery efforts continue at Sudbury, Ont. mine

Click to play video: 'Most Ontario miners rescued after being trapped for days' Most Ontario miners rescued after being trapped for days
WATCH: Most Ontario miners rescued after being trapped for days – Sep 28, 2021

Rescue efforts continue for four workers who remain trapped underground at the Totten Mine in Sudbury, Ont.,  mining company Vale confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.

So far, 35 have been safely evacuated since 39 miners originally became stuck beneath the ground’s surface at various depths — roughly 3,000 to 4,000 feet — on Sunday, a Vale spokesperson said.

A team of doctors is onsite checking the miners as they emerge at the surface, though no physical injuries have been reported, United Steel Workers (USW), which represents 30 of the employees, confirmed. The workers have also had access to water, food and medication.

Read more: Rescue efforts underway after 39 miners trapped underground in Sudbury

“This is a complex situation, with every precaution being taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the workers and those involved in the evacuation effort,” said Nick Larochelle, the USW Local 6500 president.

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“Rescue efforts are ongoing and the families of the remaining four workers are being regularly updated.”

A team of 58 responders from Vale’s mine rescue team and Ontario Mine Rescue are overseeing the recovery efforts and have been communicating with and supporting the miners during the ascent.

Exiting the mine involves climbing a series of ladders that reach more than 1,200 metres.

Click to play video: 'Rescue efforts near completion for 39 trapped miners near Sudbury, Ont.' Rescue efforts near completion for 39 trapped miners near Sudbury, Ont.
Rescue efforts near completion for 39 trapped miners near Sudbury, Ont – Sep 28, 2021

“Our thoughts are with the miners who are still underground and their families,” Larochelle said in a statement Tuesday morning.

The 39 workers became trapped underground on Sunday after they were unable to exit the mine due to damage in the shaft that houses the elevator used to transport employees between the surface and underground.

While the shaft was assessed, workers reported to underground refuge stations as part of Vale’s standard procedures. On Sunday evening, they started making their way to the surface through a secondary egress ladderway system, which they have to climb.

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“We thank the impacted employees for their patience and perseverance and the mine rescue teams for their tireless dedication and support,” Gord Gilpin, the head of mining operations for Vale’s Ontario operations, said in a statement.

The remaining employees are expected to reach the surface Tuesday.

Vale is working with its medical partner to monitor the miners throughout their ascent. Additional physical health checks are also conducted once the miners reach the surface.

The mining company also said its critical incident stress management team is offering mental health support to workers as they arrive at the surface.

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development said an inspection team will investigate the incident once the rescue operation is finished.

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— With files from The Canadian Press

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