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Westray ONF/NFB


Catalogue Number:  NFB521618
Producer:  National Film Board of Canada
Producers:  Kent Martin, Sally Bochner
Directors:  Paul Cowan
Producing Agencies:  National Film Board of Canada (Montreal)
Subject:  Business Studies, Canadian Social Studies, Civics, Documentary, Environmental Studies, Geography, Health and Medicine, Safety, Social Studies
Language:  English
Grade Level:  Post Secondary
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2001
Running Time:  79m 37s
Closed Captions:  Yes


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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.

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