Some years ago during the fledgling days of CNN and 24 hour news stations TV viewers were transfixed by a little boy who had fallen down an abandoned well. In the ensuing years we’ve watched breathlessly as miners have been trapped, buildings have collapsed and rescuers have worked tirelessly to get to those left alive. We’ve been amazed by their resourcefulness and their stamina. We watched rescue efforts on 9/11 and spent sleepless hours waiting for Chilean miners to be brought to the surface.
I have to ask, then, why in our very own country with all the technology we process and all the riches we have, it took so long for a rescue attempt to be mounted in Elliot Lake and why with the very real possibility of people still being alive those efforts were called off.
It seems to me that the moment it became clear that there were possible survivors and definitely numerous missing that every possible effort should have been made to get to them. If the building was unsafe then those who do this sort of thing for a living should have spared no effort or expense to get to them. Sorry, but when you are in the rescue business that’s what we expect of you. What we don’t expect is for you to throw up your hands and stand along the sidelines as hope fades.
There is no way in Canada in 2012 we should have to rely on an outcry from family members and angry emails to the government to get the rescue underway again.
When all is said and done there will be some huge questions to answer. We have rapid response teams with equipment and expertise ready to fly to any part of the globe at a moment’s notice. Why not within our own borders when local efforts failed. Why did it take another two days for our own government to respond? Each level seems to be looking at the other for answers…I’m sorry but it reminded me of the US government response in New Orleans after Katrina.
With all the talk in Canada the past few years about emergency preparedness and how much we have invested in it…the people of Elliot Lake and the rest of the country deserve to know why were so unprepared for this.