Quarry rescue operation to run 24-7, official says

A worker was rescued from the quarry site in L'Épiphanie, Que., January 29, 2013. (QMI Agency...

A worker was rescued from the quarry site in L'Épiphanie, Que., January 29, 2013. (QMI Agency screenshot)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:55 PM ET

L'EPIPHANIE, Que. — Rescuers say they'll work day and night for as long as necessary to find two truck drivers buried in a quarry collapse on Monday.

"It will take the time that it takes," fire official Bruno Marier said. "We won't stop."

Part of the Maskimo quarry northeast of Montreal gave way, sweeping away two dump trucks and a front loader.

The front loader operator escaped his vehicle after it crashed to the bottom, but drivers Daniel Brisebois and Marie-Claude Laporte remain buried.

Some 80 workers, aided by heavy equipment, sniffer dogs and helicopters, have been working to find the pair.

Their task is daunting.

A sea of mud and rock stretches over a 100- by 200-metre area at one end of the quarry, and part of the access road was buried in the landslide.

A giant crane lowered machinery into the opening to aid in the search as tearful family members watched from a distance.

It's a risky operation as rescuers dig through earth that's been compared to quicksand.

An alarm system has been set up to warn workers about any shifting ground.

Quebec's public security minister, Stephane Bergeron, was on hand to meet relatives of the two missing truck drivers.

Asked about Maskimo's safety record, which includes a deadly accident in 2004, Bergeron limited his comments.

"What's important ... is to find the missing people," he said. "This isn't the time to assess whether people or companies are to blame."


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