Strong winds delay search for missing quarry workers
Published Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:37PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 31, 2013 1:24PM EST
The search for victims of a landslide at a quarry in L'Epiphanie has been called off until Friday morning.
High-speed winds and a sudden drop in the temperature on Thursday forced search and recovery crews to put an end to their efforts on in locating the victims of a quarry landslide.
A massive pile of gravel, mud and snow at the Maskimo Quarry in L'Epiphanie, north of Montreal, collapsed on Tuesday, burying two trucks and an excavator.
The excavator operator managed to scramble free, but there are no signs the two truck drivers survived.
Crews have been working steadily since Tuesday's landslide, first digging by hand, then using a crane and helicopter to shuttle heavy equipment to the bottom of the quarry to continue the search.
Workers even built a large wooden platform atop the snow at the bottom of the quarry in order to stabilize a 650 tonne crane.
But all their efforts were stopped Thursday because of the weather. Wind gusts of more than 85 km/h are too strong for the crane to operate safely, and the helicopters have been grounded.
The drop in temperature, from 8 C to -11 C, is also playing a role.
Police initially told CTV Montreal reporter Tarah Schwartz that crews would will stay on location at the quarry during the day Thursday, but by 1 p.m. it was evident conditions would not change.
As a results crews were sent home to rest and told to report back at 6:30 a.m. Friday. The only people who remain will be police officers to make sure nobody attempts to disturb the quarry.