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Westray

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May 9, 1992. The Westray mine in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, explodes, instantly killing all 26 men working underground.

Mining coal in Pictou County is notoriously dangerous. It claimed the lives of 650 men in the last 100 years, the same number that died fighting in both world wars. But Westray was supposed to be different: a high-tech operation that would finally make coal mining safe.

Westray is a brilliant, innovative documentary that re-creates some of the Westray disaster's most harrowing moments. It focuses on the lives of three widows and three miners lucky enough not to be underground that day when the methane and coal dust ignited. But their lives were torn apart by the events. Meet some of the working men, who felt they had no option but to stay on at Westray. And wives, who heard the rumours, saw their men sometimes bloodied from accidents, and stood by them, hoping it would all turn out all right.

This film reaches beyond Westray. It's also about working people everywhere--whose lives are often entrusted to companies that violate the most fundamental rules of safety and decency in the name of profit.

2001, 79 min 37 s

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Bronze Plaque Award - Category: Social Issues
International Film and Video Festival
October 23 to 25 2002, Columbus - USA

Genie Award for Best Documentary
Genie Awards
February 7 2002, Toronto - Canada