Page 14 - Cape Breton Dragerman at Westray: George Muise, New Waterford
ISSUE : Issue 62
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/1/1
first part of the north mains were being carried from the north mains to the surface. About a half hour later we were ap? proached by management from our mine and asked our opinion on the opera? tion. We were asked our opinion on whether we were going to be success? ful in finding any victims. At that time our answer was no. We also had to deal with the risk that we were exposing the teams to. I feel that it was only a matter of time, we were going to lose team members, or we were going to trap team members down in that mine along with the unfortu? nate victims that were already there. At that point Westray and Devco officials met, and the opera? tion was decided to--it was decided to halt the operation. Some time later, Cape Breton's Magazine visited George Muise at his home in New Waterford. There, he told us: Myself, and all the guys that were in? volved with Westray, when we came back home, everybody started making a big fuss about what we'd done. We're all saying. Well, what's the big deal? Why are these people getting all--I mean, we had a thing in Centre 200. And we're all on stage and we're all saying. Well, holy Jesus, what did we do to deserve this? You know, try? ing to figure it out in your mind. We thought about it, and I tried to point out to some of the guys that even though we weren't successful up there, the amount of work that was done to get to where we did, to go to underground, in the amount of time that we did it, was quite an accom? plishment. I think once we started to re? alize that, we started to feel at least a little better about what people were say? ing to us. But it was uncomfortable. That was the most uncomfortable part about com? ing back home--was having people come up to you and say, "Well, you did a good job." And you're saying. "Well, we didn't do a good job." We went up there and we didn't come out with one person, so how could you say we did a good job? You know. I think that was the hardest part. Then, it slowly set in. the fact that long before a team left from Glace Bay to go up there--or Sydney Mines--and even before Westray gathered a team up--those 26 men were dead. Nothing we could have done was going to save them. But the work that was done to try and get them out of there was a big accomplishment. I think once we re? alized that, we started to feel better about what we did up there.... It should be pointed out that In the original Interviews, Mr. Muise dis? cussed the "incredible work done by bare-faced miners underground and on the surface," not included In the final broadcast. Mr. Muise re? minded us, as well, that his story is only one story from one person on one team among the several teams who served in the rescue attempt at Westray. We recognize that he Is a person who has always kept a low profile and has not sought publicity, and we are therefore especially grateful that he shared his story. This article was originally a series of broadcasts on "Information Morn? ing," CBC Radio, Sydney. Our thanks to Craig Crinkley, Executive, for his permission and help toward publication of this article. And to George Muise, who first shared his experience with Nancy Robb for an article In Occupational Health and Safety Magazine. This led to the Inter? view with Allen Guettel. Our thanks as well to the Canapress photographers Andrew Vaughn, Kerry Doubleday, and Stewart MacLean, who helped us obtain the pho? to of the dragermen entering the Westray mine. Readers will want to look back to issue 31 of Cape Breton's Magazine for "Serving on the Mine Rescue Team," which Is based on conversa? tions with dragerman and includes several competition photographs. An edited version of that article appears In Cape Breton Lives: The Sec? ond Book of Cape Breton's Magazine. PUBLISHED WITH THE COOPERATION OF CBC 5w?? Broadcasting j' Fresh Flowers • Potted Plants Silk & Dried Flowers & Plants SPECIALIZING IN MasterCard WEDDING & FUNERAL Accepted by Phone ARRANGEMENTS YOUQ PQEcSTlGE FLORIcST FOG QUALITY & &EQVICE; ASHBY NURSERIES 564-8162 174 Ashby Road-SYDNEY ['after hours' L 539-7844 J 862-3374 Piummer Av • NEW WATERFORD Real Estate & Insurance "If you're thinking of seliing your home, give us a call." Serving Industrial Cape Breton and North Victoria R. HIckey & Co. p. O. Box 96, North Sydney B2A 3M1 Gerald Brennan, Mgr. Residence: 794-4564 "And remember: No sale, no pharge." 794-3119
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