February 23, 2021
On Friday, February 12, a serious snowmobile accident took place in the village of Kiistala, outside the Kittilä mine area. Since it takes about 45 minutes to drive from the Sirkka fire station to Kiistala, Lapland’s Rescue Services submitted a request for assistance to the Kittilä mine’s rescue team. The rescue group with first-aid equipment that was closest to the scene of the accident was summoned to help.
The mine’s safety technicians Tomi Moilanen and Kari Herukka assisted with the rescue-related operations by initiating first aid and assisting with the transfers.
Local rescue services and the Kittilä mine have a long history of conducting rescue operations together, and the mine is more than happy to dispatch its rescue team to assist in rescue operations whenever possible. This cooperation is smooth, leading Lapland Rescue Services representative Tuomas Rantakokko to commend the mine’s first-aid team: “This is an excellent example of a successful joint operation. This time too, the cooperation with the mine’s rescue team worked outstandingly well, and help arrived swiftly at the scene of the accident.”
He was not alone in praising our rescue team. Mine Manager Tommi Kankkunen said, “Our skilled rescue team is extremely important also in helping the community.”
The mine’s rescue team is continuously developing its skills. It was the first team from Finland to prepare for the International Mine Rescue Competition event that was scheduled to take place in September. The COVID-19 pandemic caused that event to be postponed, however, and the next competition will take place in September 2022 in the United States, in the state of West Virginia.
Furthermore, Herukka was recently inducted to Agnico Eagle’s Mine Rescue Hall of Fame in recognition of his commendable work for our mine’s rescue operations.